Hospital Commits Cash To Interchange Project

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 7, 2010 Updated Sep 7, 2010 at 5:48 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Spending money to make money…Parkview Hospital is following that very strategy by shelling out millions of dollars to make sure patients can easily get to its new regional medical center in north Fort Wayne.

It involves a rare form of a public-private partnership, where a $10-million contribution from the hospital will help pay for a new I-69 interchange near Parkview's Dupont Road campus.

It sounds like a lot, but hospital officials expect a good return on that investment.

Parkview's money will be added to some $14-million dollars that the feds anticipate spending on an interchange at I-69 and Union Chapel Road just north of the new medical center campus, which will employ more than 3,400 people.

A recent state traffic study gave Dupont Road at I-69 an "F" grade during evening peak hours.

The location studied is very close to the hospital construction site.

With shrinking gas tax revenues, the infusion of private money helps projects get off the dime.

Will Wingfield/INDOT: " The ramps are backing up at rush hour today and with the new hospital being built, it's anticipated to contribute another 4,000 vehicle trips per day, that's not going to certainly make congestion any better."

John Perlich/Parkview Hospital: " Due to the increased traffic we'll have with patients, with visitors, with emergency vehicles, we just feel that being a good corporate citizen was to participate in this project."

Though you don’t normally see private companies pay for public roadwork near their properties, INDOT officials say they are working on similar deals, including some bigger than the Union Chapel Road interchange.

In exchange for its funding support, Parkview gets the benefit of knowing the work will be prioritized by the state.

The local Urban Transportation Advisory Board on Tuesday took action to ensure the interchange work will go out to bid in fiscal year 2012, the same year the new medical center is scheduled for completion.

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