Wollongong Hospital’s parking woes should ease from Monday when the boomgates of the new $30.5million multi-deck carpark open up for business.
From 5.30am, patients, visitors and staff will be able to access the facility which features 750 new parking spaces and is connected to the existing carpark and to the hospital via a footbridge.
It will see the overall number of parking spaces double to around 1500, while the total floor area of the entire parking station is now equivalent to six football fields.
It’s been a massive project, taking 12 months to complete, with the amount of rock excavated during construction enough to fill 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Four new lifts have been installed; there’s upgraded lighting, security and signage and there’s multiple entry and exit points off New Dapto Road and Dudley Street.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District acting director clinical operations Suzanne Harris said the new facility would significantly ease the parking burden at the hospital.
‘‘Everybody in the community recognises that parking has become a challenge at Wollongong Hospital - particularly as it’s grown and developed into a teaching and referral hospital with the advent of the University of Wollongong’s graduate medical school,’’ Ms Harris said.
‘‘Over the last couple of years parking has been further compromised because of the building of the new elective surgery centre, the extension of the emergency department and the development of a large ambulatory care centre.
‘‘We do appreciated the forebearance of patients, visitors and staff during this time, and are delighted that this carpark upgrade will provide them with safe and accessible parking.’’
The fees are set to rise under the new carpark management system, run by Wilson Parking.
While the first 15 minutes are free; those who park for more than 15 minutes and up to one hour will be charged $6.20.
Parking from one to two hours will rise to $9.30; two to three hours will cost $12.30; and further hourly increases up to a maximum daily fee of $18.50.
Disabled and concession parking for up to three hours will be free; while there are special arrangements available for staff.
Ms Harris said the fees were in line with the Ministry of Health carpark fee policy, which was under review.
ISLHD change manager Albert Vasquez said the carpark had been future-proofed to support additional construction on top if required.
‘‘Parking has been a sore point for such a long time and now we are delivering something back to the community,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been designed to increase the capacity and deliver the spaces we need for now, and to cater for the future growth here at Wollongong Hospital.
‘‘It has multiple exits and entries to ensure easy access for staff and visitors, and also to make sure we are not causing congestion from New Dapto Road back down to Crown Street.’’
Mr Vasquez said he expected the rest of the hospital’s redevelopment to be completed by late June, and community feedback had been extremely positive.