Median Design Creates Dangerous Delays For Cary Firefighters

Posted April 12, 2006

— As new development moves into the Triangle, roads are changing to handle all the new traffic. On High House Road in Cary, development is causing road pain for the fire department.

Cary's Fire Station 5 is surrounded by construction. The big ladder truck has to drive over the median. The median was added to handle more traffic, but it's lowered to accommodate the truck. It slows them slightly, but firefighters say they can deal with it. However, the problem is the rest of the new median curb.

The high curb could cause a lot of damage to the truck's suspension over time. Firefighters took their complaints to their commanding officers.

“That part of the median is such that we can't do what we did before traveling west on High House Road,” said Cary Fire Chief Allan Cain. “We can't enter back into the fire station with a normal route of travel.”

To return to the fire station, trucks travel a substantial distance out of the way, and then make a difficult u-turn. Half the challenge in emergency response is being prepared for the next callm and Station 5 says its ability to be ready for the next alarm is hampered by the new road design.

“In this case, we're having to work through the (Department of Transportation); they're the ones who regulate High House Road, which is a state roadway, and we feel like we are moving toward a resolution,” said Cary transportation engineer Tim Bailey.

The DOT says it is willing to change the median to accommodate emergency vehicles, but it doesn't want all traffic having that access. They are working on a solution, while the Cary firefighters deal with the growth that surrounds them. The DOT is designing a new median for the area.


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