York Hospital Helipad & Traffic Circulation – City of York, York County, PA

HRG devised a creative solution to improve traffic circulation and access at Wellspan York Hospital’s Emergency Room, eliminating congestion and delay where every second counts.

As the only Level I Regional Resource Trauma Center in York, Adams, Lancaster, and Franklin Counties, Wellspan York Hospital provides critical care to thousands of trauma patients each year, but their existing emergency facilities required major upgrades.

Access points for ambulances, patient drop-offs, and employees were too close to each other.  In addition, due to the site’s topography, these access points and the hospital’s loading dock and medical refuse removal function all operated at varied elevations, working against each other to create conflicting traffic patterns, congestion and delay. As a result, improving access by organizing traffic patterns and reducing congestion was a primary concern for the hospital.

However, accomplishing this goal was not a simple task due to the limitations imposed by the site topography, the need to work within the parameters of the existing building layout, and the need to avoid utility conflicts that could cause service interruptions.

After visiting a mock-up of the facility created in a local warehouse by the Renovation Executive Team, HRG made several key observations:

  • Patient and ambulance traffic had to be separated.
  • Ambulance drop-off could no longer be remote to the building under a canopy; it needed to be moved directly adjacent to the building.
  • The patient drop-off area needed to be accessible for proper extraction.
  • The location of the helipad was an impediment to accomplishing these goals.

This final observation turned out to be the key to success on this project.  HRG devised a creative solution to design a new, elevated helipad directly on top of the existing Emergency Department main entrance drive.  This freed up space to construct:

  • Two vehicular decks to expand the ambulance drop-off area and provide direct access to the Emergency Department.
  • A bridge and ramp system to provide a separate ambulance access.
  • Elevated pedestrian walkways to provide direct access from the helipad to the Emergency Department.
  • A retaining wall system to support a roundabout for patient drop-off and maintain lower level access to critical hospital functions such as the loading docks and medical refuse removal areas

An added benefit of rebuilding the helipad on an elevated platform was that we could expand its capacity to accommodate larger medivac helicopters, enhancing the hospital’s ability to respond to more significant accidents and traumatic events.

Since the very nature of emergency care requires an immediate response, an interruption to the hospital’s emergency services was not feasible. Wellspan needed to maintain access to this facility throughout construction without delays.  Accordingly, we developed complex construction staging to coordinate exterior and interior improvements without interrupting service to the hospital’s patients.  Likewise, we carefully designed the site to avoid significant utility impacts that would’ve caused construction delays despite challenging grades due to the hospital’s location on a hillside. This included designing complicated aerial structures to meet all of the hospital’s varied traffic needs (vehicles, pedestrians, employees, ambulances, helicopters, etc.).

Client / Owner

Wellspan Health
1001 South George Street
York, PA 17403

Project Highlights

  • Worked with the hospital executive committee to understand the daily access issues and understand how the new Emergency Department would function.
  • Devised a creative solution to demolish the existing helipad and rebuild it directly on top of the existing Emergency Department access in order to provide sufficient room to re-organize traffic patterns and eliminate the conflicts that caused congestion and delay.
  • Maintained uninterrupted service to the hospital’s patients by avoiding utility impacts and carefully sequencing construction.

Related People

Contact an HRG Transportation Professional for more information on this project or related services.

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