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Road Construction Impacts Emergency Crew Routes

May 12, 2014, 5:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Road Construction Impacts Emergency Crew Routes
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Making room for emergency vehicles can be complicated during road construction season. Each year, crews at Rural Metro Ambulance have to plan their routes accordingly.

"Avoid where we bottleneck everybody so that we're able to get through. Even if we have to go real slow and even maybe shut down our sirens for a little bit because people, if they can't move, they can't move," Lory Johansen said.

Even with the best planning, sometimes crews get trapped. A KELOLAND photographer shot video of an ambulance stuck in the Russell Street construction project last Friday. Construction brought traffic to a stand-still.

Sioux Falls officials keep emergency crews in the loop about what areas of the city will be most affected by closures and detours.

"Our maps in the station, sometimes we'll put up marks on them or put a post-it note up and make a mark for that area so that everybody's aware that's not going to be the best route choice," Johansen said.

Knowing this ahead of time allows the crews to map out alternate routes, but occasionally there's just no way around the bottleneck.

"We're usually trying to get there as quickly as we can, and we still are, but it's not going to do any good if we hurt other people on the way or if other people are injured," Johansen said.

Even though in some road closure situations, you may feel trapped, it is best not to panic. Just get out of the way as soon as you can.

"If they can see a way, a parking lot or a drive-way where they can pull in and get out of the way, that's very helpful, but don't put themselves in danger to do that," Johansen said.

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