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Officials place safety measures around construction site

BY MICHAEL KADRIE | SEPTEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic’s ongoing construction projects have slimmed down space around Kinnick Stadium, and tailgaters this season may have to make due with limited parking options and congested streets.

This is the third year that major construction work has been underway in the area surrounding the stadium during football season.

For university officials and Hawkeye fans, dealing with these difficulties has become almost second nature.

“At this point, people have adapted,” UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

The biggest change this year, he said, is the closing of parking ramp 2, which is under construction.

It’s being built in conjunction with the new Children’s Hospital, providing integrated building access.

Ramp 2 is one of four ramps that help to facilitate traffic in the UIHC area. The final structure will be 14 stories, including two underground levels, and it will have an outdoor terrace.

In the meantime, not being able to access those spots means it’s essential that parking during home games is carefully organized to ensure the hospital’s operations are not interrupted, Moore said, because the large number of fans can cause delays for UIHC, especially before kickoff and after the final whistle.

The UI accomplishes this by reserving alternate spaces throughout the area for hospital faculty. Moore said all of parking ramp 1, the ramp closest to the UIHC main entrance, is exclusively for patients and their visitors for the duration of the game.

Hospital officials also help facilitate news organizations and those fans who have disabilities by reserving them space in parking ramp 3, which is right across from the stadium.

Moore said safety during tailgating is important to the UI, and officials coordinate closely with emergency services in order to help ensure everyone can make it to the next game.

Jay Goodin, the UIHC director of project management, said precautions are taken every home game.

“We do a pre-game walk-through with campus police, UIHC safety and security, the Athletics [Department], and others to ensure the site is safe and secure,” he said.

Moore said work sites, such as parking ramp 2, need to be kept secure from wandering pedestrians, a responsibility that falls to the contractors hired by the UI.

Additionally, there are two to three security guards and a construction superintendent onsite in constant radio contact.

An operator also controls the crane boom to ensure it won’t swing over the stadium during the game. Normally, it would turn freely with the wind when not in use to minimize stress on the structure during high winds, Goodin said.

For UI junior Madison Barnum, the large crowds ware a matter of course.

“I know it’s an Iowa game, so it pretty much comes with the territory,” she said.


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