VA eliminates downtown site from hospital consideration, Brownsboro Rd. site likely


by Joe Arnold

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 21 at 10:15 PM

(LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- The push for a downtown Veterans Administration hospital is killed once and for all in an assessment released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The report, prepared by TTL Associates, notes that the downtown site would require the acquisition of 80 parcels of land held by 20 different property owners.

"The downtown location was eliminated from further consideration," the report states.

Click here to read the full report.

A WHAS11 review of the assessment to determine a replacement location for a V-A hospital also reveals that the department's preferred site remains "The Midlands," a 36 acre tract off Brownsboro Road, not far from the Holiday Manor shopping center.

The conclusion is reached despite the same report saying "this intersection currently operates at an unacceptable level of service, meaning that current traffic delays are unacceptable to the motoring public."

"There's nothing standing in the way," said Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for developer Jonathan Blue, who owns the site.

"The study came back favorable to the preferred site.  And we feel very good about our chances," Gunnell continued.  "Significant cost savings for the taxpayers, and it's by far the preferred site."

Yet, it's not the preferred site of neighbors - who still question the VA's research

"Some of them were not good traffic studies," asserted Tom Tucker, a resident of the neighboring Crossgate subdivision.

Tucker also took issue with the consultant's conclusion that the hospital will not  significantly impact the local environment or quality of life.

"I think all in all, it's not going to improve it's going to be worse," Tucker said.

"This was an exhaustive study by independent experts from the V-A," Gunnell countered, "and that the traffic concerns can be mitigated partly by the construction starting today."

The V-A is concluding that a hospital built at the Midlands would have a less than significant impact on traffic as long as Kentucky follows through on planned improvements and enhancements.

The state is beginning construction of a "slip ramp" from the Watterson eastbound to the front of the hospital complex on Brownsboro Road.

Kentucky is also planning to widen Brownsboro Road from the hospital entrance up to U.S. 42 from the current three lanes to five lanes.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet also has in the pipeline but not funded yet a complete reworking of the U.S. 42 at Watterson interchange

"That will depend on whether or not the funding is in place," said Andrea Clifford of the Transportation Cabinet.  "The Transportation Cabinet certainly sees it as a need for this area and we hope to get the funding so we can move forward with construction."

Click here to read the full report.