A spokesperson for Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach says beginning Tuesday there will be changes to those wanting to access the Emergency department.

On March 28th, Penn-Co Construction began work on a project that will see a new entrance built at the hospital. There will also be a drop-off canopy and enclosed access connecting the main entrance and Emergency Room. Jan Gunness, Director of Health Services says the tender amount was $2.6 million and after consulting fees, the project is expected to cost about $3.1 million.

According to Gunness, work is progressing well. She says everything remains on schedule and it seems the public is finding their way in and out of the hospital. The project is expected to take seven months to complete.

Gunness says beginning Tuesday, April 19th, the drive-up portion to the front entrance of the Emergency Department will be restricted. That is because large trucks will be coming in to excavate the front of the hospital and then pour concrete in order to build the base of the link between the main entrance and Emergency Room.

The restricted access will be in effect from April 19th at 8am until May 3rd. Gunness says during that time, anyone wanting to access the Emergency department can either walk up a flight of stairs from the lower parking lot or can go through the CancerCare entrance.

"The construction crews are working around the clock to make this as short an interruption as possible," says Gunness. "We were hoping it would be a little shorter but we are projecting fourteen days."

Back in April of 2012, Penn-Co Construction began work on the major redevelopment at Bethesda Regional Health Centre. Ken Klassen, Vice President of Finance and Capital for Southern Health-Santé Sud says it cost approximately $20 million to construct a new Emergency department and front entrance. Of that, $2 million came from community contribution and $18 million from Manitoba Health.

That project was completed in 2014 and almost immediately there was criticism from the public over how steep the stairs were. This prompted a $170,000 ramp redesign that was completed in fall of 2015. The work being done this year is expected to cost about $3.1 million.

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