When the Tooele City Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at Starbucks on Main Street, the fire truck took a different route out of the station.
Instead of turning onto Main Street, which has been consumed by a major construction project, the fire engine exited through the rear of the station onto Garden Street.
Assistant fire chief Bucky Whitehouse said the two most frequently used fire engines now face Garden Street and when dispatched, head to the nearest cross street, such as Vine Street to the south.
Because of the construction, the north and south arteries the fire department uses are primarily 100 East and 200 West.
“It’s too soon to know what impact it will have on response time,” Whitehouse said.
With vehicles confined to single lanes along Main Street, Whitehouse said the fire department is trying to avoid high traffic areas. If a situation is not an immediate emergency, a fire truck may not use lights or sirens during high traffic times.
Contractors working on road construction are giving the fire department updates so the department can adjust its routes accordingly, Whitehouse said.
The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office has already experienced minor delays when deputies responded to a call in Stockton last week. Single lane traffic slowed patrol cars trying to use SR-36 to get to the town.
Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer said the construction has made the alternate routes busier as well.
“It does create some problems for both the public and ourselves,” he said.
Opening the Stansbury Park substation and moving the sheriff’s office headquarters to the Tooele County Detention Center does allow responders to arrive at the scene of an incident without cutting through town, Wimmer said.
“I think it helps having the Stansbury Park substation,” he said. “With a little bit of luck we’ve got officers on both sides of the construction zone.”
Tanya Turnbow, Tooele City Police public information officer, said the department hasn’t seen an effect on response times since road construction began. Officers have been using alternate routes recommended by the Utah Department of Transportation, she said.
The police department reminded motorists to slow their speed in construction areas and be alert to workers and equipment. In addition, drivers should still move to the right shoulder, or leave as much space as possible, when an emergency vehicle is following in a construction zone.