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updated: 8/7/2012 7:00 PM

Traffic can leave Arlington Hts. hospital via Kirchhoff Road Monday

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Vehicles leaving the Northwest Community Hospital campus in Arlington Heights will be able to use the west entrance to Kirchhoff Road starting Monday, Aug. 13, hospital officials said Tuesday.

The village board voted in late April to allow two-way traffic on the driveway near Kennicott and Salem avenues for a nine-month trial period.

At the direction of the village, the hospital has hired Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc. to study traffic at about 25 points near the hospital, said Robert Klasek, the hospital's vice president of facilities management. These studies are designed to show any increases in traffic during periods when school is in session and not.

The hospital will also hire off-duty police officers to direct traffic at the exit during the afternoon shift change.

For more than a decade, the village allowed motorists to enter the hospital at two drives from Kirchhoff Road but ruled that all except emergency vehicles should exit to Central Road on the south.

The hospital requested that both entrances be opened to two-way traffic, but village staff recommended against changing the rules for the east one, which is at Ridge Avenue.

The hospitals' arguments included traffic congestion at the Central exits, especially during shift changes; confusion when people cannot exit at the spot where they enter; and inconvenience when staff, patients and visitors are required to drive south before they can go north.

The request drew comments from many residents on both sides, with opponents saying the change would send more traffic through neighborhoods north of the hospital, endangering children who attend three schools and visit a major park in that area.

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