Fountains over people, isn’t the new Branson amazingly obvious?

Now here’s an amazing factoid and a big surprise. First the amazing factoid, traffic on Business Highway 65, directly north of the Roark Creek Bridge, is going to be increased drastically and quickly when Branson Landing, Branson’s new $420 million plus master-planned shopping entertainment development, opens. This has the distinct potential to create traffic congestion in the area of the Skaggs Hospital, particularly near the access to its emergency room. Some might say that is not amazing it’s obvious. Let’s compromise and say that it is amazingly obvious.

Now for the big surprise, in spite of being so amazingly obvious, as Branson Landing gets ever closer and closer to opening, it appears that there has been minimal effective action taken to insure that the increased traffic on Business Highway 65 does not adversely impact on the efficient access to the Skaggs Hospital Emergency Room, the areas only hospital emergency room. For those wondering how something that is so amazingly obvious could result in such a surprise an Ole Seagull would simply say, “Welcome to the new Branson, where everybody has a chance to be amazed and surprised by the amazingly obvious.”

Let’s just hope that chance doesn’t come as either you or someone you love is trying to get to the emergency room at Skaggs and is delayed because the access to the road leading to it is blocked by Branson Landing traffic. Can anyone picture a situation where time could be of the essence in getting to the emergency room?

Can any reasonable person envision a situation where those making a decision to place a huge concentration of traffic directly in a position that could impede the only access road to the areas only available emergency room could even think of doing so without having a suitable alternate in place prior to doing so? Well, welcome to the new Branson, where everybody has a chance to be amazed and surprised by the amazingly obvious.”

The minutes of the regular meeting of the Taney County Commission, held on Dec. 12, 2005, state that “Bob Simmons addressed the Commission regarding a new Hospital road on behalf of Skaggs Hospital.” Simmons pointed out that the new road was needed “due to the estimated increase in traffic when Branson Landing is finished” and that “they should be seeing more concentrated traffic in the area, which could potentially cause difficulty getting emergency vehicles to Skaggs Hospital.”

Now let’s see, how many years ago was it when the city’s traffic consultants made their determination relative to the widening of Business Highway 65 and the location of the roundabout impacting on the access to the Skaggs Emergency Room? Weren’t the people present assured that access to the hospital and particularly access to the emergency room had been addressed? Who was it from the hospital that spoke at the public meetings about the hospitals concerns regarding the potential impact of Branson Landing traffic on the access to the hospitals emergency room?

What priority has the City of Branson given to solving the problem that they are creating for the advancement of the new Branson? Out of the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on the Branson Landing Project, how much has the City of Branson allocated to ensure that its citizens, visitors, and others needing access to the areas only emergency room have safe and efficient access to that emergency room?

Evidently not too much according to the comments made by Branson City Administrator Terry Dody, as reflected on the official minutes of the Dec. 12 meeting mentioned above. When asked by Taney County Commissioner Ron Herschend when the county could expect reimbursement for the approximately $2.3 million dollars that the city and hospital are trying to get the county to pay for the new road, Dody responded, “There is a list of prioritized projects including a master transportation plan and since this is not yet on the list, it would be 10 to 15 years before the city could reimburse the county.”

Is it possible that more planning, funding, and priority has been given to Branson Landing’s fountain by those governing the City of Branson than to insuring that access to the areas only emergency room is maintained? Just how much is the City of Branson paying for the construction of the fountain at Branson Landing? How much will the city be paying each year for fountain maintenance?

Especially, considering that the City of Branson has created the situation, is it unreasonable to expect it to give at least the same priority and funding as the fountain is getting from the city to help ensure that access to the areas only emergency room is maintained? To an Ole Seagull the answer is amazingly obvious.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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