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Hospital road work estimate lowered

February 19, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Should Washington County Health System Inc. build a new hospital next to Robinwood Medical Center, up to $13 million in road improvements would be needed, Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said Tuesday.

The estimate is lower than the $20 million to $25 million in road work he previously estimated would be needed for another site near the medical center.

Plans call for the hospital to be built to the north of Robinwood Medical Center, with the two facilities connected by a corridor, said James Hamill, president of Washington County Health System. The health system, the hospital's parent company, owns about 200 acres at the Robinwood site.

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There would be separate entrances and parking areas for the Emergency Room, the Trauma Center and other departments, under plans Hamill showed to the Washington County Commissioners during a lunch meeting Tuesday.

During the meeting, Hamill said hospital officials have talked with Rohrer about the impact the project would have on Robinwood Drive.

Rohrer said the estimated $13 million in needed road work would include improving the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive.

Rohrer said improvements would include building a connector road between Robinwood Drive and Md. 64 that would bypass the portion of Robinwood Drive between Hagerstown Community College and Md. 64.

In July 2002, Rohrer estimated that about $20 million to $25 million in road improvements probably would be needed if the hospital were built at a site near Robinwood Medical Center.

That estimate was based on another site being considered near Robinwood Medical Center that was closer to Eastern Boulevard, Rohrer said.

If the hospital were built at that site, it would be necessary to extend Professional Court from Eastern Boulevard to Robinwood Drive, which would require a bridge over Antietam Creek, he said.

The county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance requires developers to provide information showing adequate road, water, sewage and schools capacity before a project can be approved. The developers must contribute toward any needed improvements.

It is too soon to say what the hospital's share of road costs would be, Rohrer said.

Washington County Health System is paying a consultant to do a traffic study which will help clarify what impact the hospital would have on area roads, Rohrer said.

Other property owners in the area would benefit from any improvements and might also have to pay some of the costs, Rohrer said.

Washington County Health System officials announced in mid-November that the Robinwood Medical Center site had been chosen over others considered at Allegheny Energy's Friendship Technology Park south of Hagerstown and a two-block area in the east end of Hagerstown's downtown.

While the hospital plans to build a new hospital rather than renovate the current one, Hamill said there are other steps in the process of opening a new hospital by the target date of 2007.

Unless an obstacle blocks or delays the plans, construction of the hospital is expected to start around March 2004, Hamill said.

Hamill also told the commissioners about some of the design goals for the hospital, which he said include being as compatible as possible with the environment and keeping inpatient, outpatient and visitor traffic separate.

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