Accident Response

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

It seems accidents on Interstate-65 happen all the time, sometimes backing up traffic for everyone.

"The biggest issue for all the fire departments and ambulance service as well is just the travel time it takes from the time and place we can enter the interstate to the incident scenes", says firefighter Jon Lam.

Jon Lam is the Deputy Fire Chief at the
Alvaton Fire Department and says they respond to almost three accidents a week to the section of the interstate between the Natcher Parkway exit and the Franklin exit, which is nearly 16 miles.

Lam says sixteen miles without an exit or some type of access to a secondary road just isn't convenient for first responders.

"The issue is the additional time it takes for us to reach the scene of an accident and the minutes can be extremely important when it comes to hazardous material or an injury accident", says Lam.

Lam and other firefighters say they are worried that this will only get worse with the new barrier walls being built which only allow turnaround openings at mile marker 9 and 14.

Kiersten Jaggers works with the Department of Highways and says she also knows just how inconvenient the interstate can be.

"It's an inconvenience for everyone. It's an inconvenience for our guys trying to get out there, fire trucks, for the tow trucks", says Jaggers.

Jaggers says she has even approached the Federal Highway Administation several times about having an interchange.

"I think at this point it may be too late to get an interchange in the sections we've already designed, but it is a possibility in the future", says Jaggers.

Lam is hoping that the future comes sooner than later. He says even by adding access points to the three overpasses on this portion of the interstate would not only make a difference in getting water to the accidents but it could help all responders.

"They'd be access points for us to shuttle water and get to the accidents scenes on the interstate, but also give a point for law enforcement personnel and ambulance personnel to enter and exit the interstate", says Lam.

Jaggers says the Transportation Department is currently working with a group out of Louisville to see what they've been doing for their roads.

They also plan to have a meeting with first responders in August to help come up with solutions to these interstate problems.


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