Traffic in the days after the Interstate collapse has been a nightmare for everyone trying to get around Atlanta, but for first responders, a bad traffic jam could be a life-or-death problem.
11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross reports Thursday that police, fire and emergency workers are trying to navigate the congestion under pressure.
“We have seen a little bit of a pinch as it relates to traffic issues,” said DeKalb Fire Capt. Eric Jackson.
Jackson said as soon as I-85 collapsed, stations near the site knew it would be an issue.
“On the heels of that incident, our captains and our engineers were already thinking ahead in terms of, if we have to get to a particular house or area, we were thinking, what are some alternative routes, what are the different ways we have to travel in the event that we come up against some thick traffic,” he explained.
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Sandy Springs Police reported that they’re also experiencing delays in response times. Earlier this week, police said a traffic accident on GA 400 this week took 15 minutes longer to respond to because of the massive traffic back up.
Jackson said on Monday, DeKalb firefighters on their way to a call had to take extra streets in order to respond. He said the frustration drivers feel dealing with the congestion just makes things worse, because everyone is on edge, but he said drivers still need to follow the law.
“Make sure you're attentive and alert and when you see red lights or blue lights, you need to pull to the right,” he said. “Georgia state law mandates that no matter what has happened.”
Atlanta and DeKalb Police told 11Alive that they've had to strategically deploy officers who are closest to the call to avoid traffic. Jackson said his crews have spent extra time mapping additional routes around their sections this past week to make sure they can respond to calls.
Jackson said their drivers do use WAZE and Google Maps to try and navigate around the construction, but really rely on their knowledge of the area to get them around traffic quickly and safely.