Salisbury Press

Friday, November 16, 2018

SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

LVH emergency ward expansion given final approval

Lehigh Valley Health Network’s $111-million expansion of the Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest emergency ward has received final approval.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the project, with construction expected to begin in December or January 2019. Utilities relocation was to have begun in October.

Commissioner Joanne Ackerman made the motion, seconded by board of commissioners Vice President Debra Brinton, to bring the resolution to a vote at the Oct. 25 township meeting.

Salisbury Township Engineer David J. Tettemer of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc. moderated the discussion at the Oct. 25 township commissioners’ meeting, which concentrated on the condition and maintenance of berms constructed near neighbors’ properties in order to reduce noise and views of the LVHN property.

Tettemer said the planners’ vote included a recommendation for approval of three waivers:

- Combining the preliminary and final plans;

- Allowing the stormwater detention basin to not drain completely, and

- Allowing a non-flat bottom of the detention basis with a minimum 2 percent slope

Tettemer noted area residents’ concerns, including a water-drainage swale.

“The hospital doesn’t really have any official plans, but what they are going to include is an inlet if the township decided to install a stormwater swale,” Tettemer said.

During the course of the Oct. 25 meeting, Adele Clemmer, a Salisbury resident whose property is adjacent to the hospital property, and a former township planning commission member, said concerns about the condition of the existing berm have been addressed or are being addressed by hospital officials.

David E. Horn, founding principal at Architerra, PC landscape architects, explained Dutch White Clover planted on the existing berm is taking root. He said weeds on the berm would continue to be addressed.

“The ground cover in question is designed to be an evergreen ground cover,” Horn said.

“We need some kind of verification that you’re willing to work with the homeowners,” Tettemer said to hospital representatives and officials.

James A. Rothdeutsch, senior manager at The Pidcock Company, engineering firm for the LVHN project, and LVHN officials at the meeting assured Tettemer and township officials they will continue to work with residents living in the vicinity of the Cedar Crest campus.

An additional 12-foot-high, 75-foot-wide earthen berm topped by trees is to be built along the southwest area of the LVHN – Cedar Crest campus to provide noise reduction for homeowners’ residences in the vicinity.

The project’s stormwater detention pond calculations were submitted to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and were approved. About four-foot deep of water is to remain in the detention pond for about five days after a rainfall.

Work on the project is to be accomplished in phases. When the adult emergency room opens, the existing emergency room will be renovated to become the expanded children’s emergency room.

Construction will not affect patients, visitors’ and EMS crews’ access to the emergency room by car or ambulance, according to LVHN officials.

The LVHN board of trustees approved the plan to construct the 120,000-square-foot addition to the hospital’s emergency room, bringing the total size to 157,000-square-feet. The new building is to be one-story in height.

The expansion will bring the number of beds available to almost 200. It will include 97 adult emergency room beds (there are now 42 beds) and 26 beds in the children’s emergency room (there are now 12 beds).

The observation unit will be staffed by clinicians from the hospital unit where observation patients now receive care.

The children’s emergency room will have 12 observation beds for caregivers to evaluate patients’ needs.

The adult and children’s emergency rooms will have separate entrances and waiting areas.