Construction starts April 26 on Pikeville Medical Center tunnel

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Pikeville Medical Center broke ground Tuesday on yet another special project.

And while this one may cause some traffic inconvenience, it’ll be worth it wonce the project is done, hospital leaders said.

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On Monday, April 26, Pikeville’s Bypass Road (KY 1426) will close to all traffic between the two Pikeville Medical Center entrances for construction of a pedestrian tunnel underneath the highway.

The road is expected to remain closed for at least three weeks.

The pedestrian tunnel will run from the hospital’s Riverfill parking lot to the grassy area near the main entrance fountain.

The road will be closed between the two hospital entrances (the area in front of the fountain). Vehicles will be able to access the main hospital campus as usual on either side of the work zone: at the main entrance off Harold’s Branch Road as well as the entrance on the other side of the parking garage

However, all truck traffic will be required to use the Harold’s Branch entrance, which leads directly to the loading dock behind the hospital.

In addition, people with appointments at the hospital facilities in the Riverfill will be required to use the Baird Avenue entrance to the Riverfill area.

Message boards and signs will direct traffic. Hospital security officers will be on site to assist with traffic control.

The tunnel will provide safe, convenient pedestrian access to Pikeville Medical Center’s main campus that does not require people to cross traffic on the heavily traveled roadway. The concrete structure will be 108 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 8 feet high with lighting throughout the walkway and both entrances.

Current traffic estimates along this stretch of KY 1426 range from 11,074 to 13,673 vehicles a day and includes school buses, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency responders, commercial trucks, and thousands of passenger vehicles.

Pikeville Medical Center employs 3,000 people and sees more than 450,000 patients annually from a 10-county service area.

In addition, thousands of visitors, medical students, and vendors require access to the hospital. The possibility of vehicle/pedestrian wrecks is reduced dramatically when pedestrian traffic is removed from the highway

Another benefit is enhanced response time for ambulances and the Pikeville Fire Department. Traffic flow on Bypass Road will be improved, particularly during morning and evening school traffic hours and shift changes at the hospital.

The project is a partnership among Pikeville Medical Center, the City of Pikeville, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The project contractor, Jig Saw Enterprises, General Contractor, is a Pike County company owned and operated by Rusty Justice, PE. Funding includes $575,000.00 from KYTC’s Department of Rural and Municipal Aid toward the total project cost.