Johnston Health steering public to new entrance
August 1, 2012
If you're headed to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield, please use the new main entrance off Hospital Road. It's less congested, easier to navigate and offers the quickest route to services and patient rooms inside the hospital.
It's also safer than the old main entrance on North Bright Leaf Boulevard.
That's the message the health care system wants to send to the public.
In the past five years, there have been 115 traffic accidents along the stretch of North Bright Leaf Boulevard-from Front Street to Turner Drive-fronting the hospital.
With an eye on improving safety, the N.C. Department of Transportation will begin work this month to install a traffic median fronting the hospital. Once it's is in place, northbound motorists will no longer be able to turn left into the hospital's driveway, which will change to a right-in, right-out entrance and exit.
Motorists will be able to turn left at Turner Drive, which leads to the new main entrance of the hospital. However, the best, safest route is to turn at the traffic signal where Hospital Road intersects North Bright Leaf.
There will be changes at the hospital, too, to support the new the traffic pattern. Starting in mid-August, Johnston Health will close the hospital's old main entrance facing North Bright Leaf.
"For 60 years, that's been the entrance to the hospital," says Kyle McDermott, who oversees construction projects for Johnston Health. "Doing away with it is going to be a culture change for us and the community."
When the patient tower opened in February of 2010, everyone thought the public would use the new entrance on Hospital Road, he says. "But that's not been the case. We still have many visitors who use the North Bright Leaf entrance."
McDermott says signs will soon go up directing motorists to the new main entrance and alerting them to the new traffic pattern. There are also plans to publicize the changes through the local media.
The public entrances to the Emergency Department and the Public Health Department, which also face North Bright Leaf, will remain open.