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OSU to close sections of 12th Avenue for medical center expansion project

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Traffic around the Ohio State University Medical Center will be re-routed during the next year to continue construction on the $1 billion medical center expansion, ProjectONE.

OSU will close parts of 12th Avenue for a two-phase construction project to build a utility tunnel, said Jay Kasey, chief operating officer for the medical center. He also said officials are concerned that detours could confuse visitors to the medical center.

During the first phase, OSU will close 12th Avenue from its intersection at Cannon Drive to Harding Hospital, which is across from the Biomedical Research Tower, beginning Dec. 6. Once the site is reopened in May 2011, OSU will close 12th Avenue between Harding Hospital and the adjacent building to the east, the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, from May through December 2011.

During the first phase of construction, detours will reroute drivers coming south on Cannon Drive toward 12th Avenue to the John Herrick Drive Extension, which opened Monday partly to alleviate traffic on 12th Avenue, Kasey said. Those driving north on Cannon toward 12th Avenue will have to use Medical Center Drive as an alternate route.

During the second phase of construction, drivers will be able to use Cannon Drive to access Parks Hall and Harding Hospital, but 12th Avenue will continue to be closed to through traffic.

The OSU Medical Center and Transportation and Parking Services are preparing for the road closings and detours, which could cause confusion for patients, said Sarah Blouch, director of Transportation and Parking Services at OSU.

“The (medical) center has concerns, absolutely,” Blouch said. “It’s confusing and it’s hard for patients, so everybody’s working together to get some clear signs out.”

Along with electronic signs, the university will assign traffic officers at key intersections and print maps every week that show detours, Kasey said.

“There’s a huge amount of concern,” Kasey said. “That’s why we’re employing these efforts.

“It’s not a short-term process, but it’s one that’s well-planned.” 

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