A few days of unloading construction materials were expected to cause minor parking inconveniences and noise at the South Shore Regional Hospital property in Bridgewater as workers prepped for installation of a series of culverts as part of the site's major multi-million dollar redevelopment.
Gina Phinney, a registered nurse and a redevelopment project clinical coordinator, expects the scale of work to increase within the next couple of months.
"I think we can all attest that the public is anxiously awaiting to see what is going to happen and when things are going to start," Phinney told LighthouseNOW during a phone chat. " Hopefully, by September, there will be some shovels in the ground."
On July 5, Nova Scotia Health announced "construction activity would take place between July 6 and 8 at the hospital site, which takes in about 12 hectares of land.
Workers are moving "big square box culverts" that come in 10 pieces and those pieces are welded together on site when they are ready for installation, Phinney explained.
There was restricted access to a section of parking area, ordinarily used by staff, to allow workers to pull trucks and equipment in so the material can be offloaded onto the grass on the southeastern end of the property. Phinney said it would be one truck going in-and-out, hence the reason why the job takes several days.
"We're going to build a new emergency access road off Glen Allan Drive and [the culverts] will be used when we get into that construction," Phinney added.
Workers started cutting trees on southwest end of the property in late March in preparation for future culvert installation that would lead to a new emergency-vehicle-only access road being built, and the addition of up to 80 new public parking spaces. When finished, the new road, designated for police, fire and paramedics, will wrap around the southern end of the property. The access road to the expanded and renovated emergency department (ED) and ambulance garage will also remove the bottleneck at the current hospital entrance. As well, it means patients arriving by ambulance will be unloaded with more privacy and out of the outdoor elements.
Built in 1988, the South Shore Regional Hospital is the subject of a seven-year, $112 million modernization project involving expansion and renovation work on the emergency department, endoscopy and day surgery units, the physical plant, and the addition of a dialysis unit. A four-bay ambulance garage is also planned. The overall project focused was announced last year.
The hospital currently has 85 inpatient beds, including medical, surgical, intensive care, obstetrics and mental health units.