The closest hospital to Alabama’s beaches is in Foley, which “can seem like an eternity” during an emergency along congested Alabama State Route 59.
The trip is especially treacherous on summer weekends, when tens of thousands of motorists converge upon or leave the Gulf Coast. The state’s transportation director recently called it a “dangerous situation,” prompting him to elevate a new Intracoastal Waterway bridge atop the list of road construction priorities in Alabama.
“We’ve been worried about our residents and access to health care,” Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said Tuesday. “It’s a good ride up to the hospital.”
Efforts are under way to address the concerns. On Tuesday, the city of Orange Beach unveiled a new partnership with USA Health that will team physicians inside ambulances with paramedics at the Orange Beach Fire Department.
The partnership comes as the city of Gulf Shores prepares to approach the State Health Planning & Development Agency with a request to build a free-standing medical-emergency center north of the Intracoastal Waterway off of Route 59.