SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Closing down roads for construction can certainly cause headaches for any driver. But that’s especially true for firefighters and EMTs, who have to get to the scene of emergencies as quickly as possible.
Monday morning in Salem, workers dragged out the signs to close down the West State Street bridge. That’s the main road through Salem. So not only does it mean detours for cars and trucks to bypass the city, it means the fire department has to adapt.
The fire station is downtown, and closing the bridge means closing the main road to the west side of Salem. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles will have to detour onto other roads, but many of those are intersected by railroad tracks. And that could slow down how quickly crews in Salem get to emergencies.
“Well, our average response time right now, without all this, is about three-and-a-half minutes,” Salem Fire Chief Jeff Hughes said. “And some of these trains you get are lengthy. You might be adding five, six minutes on. So it could be significant.”
ODOT said shutting down the bridge entirely will make the project quicker and less expensive, as compared to closing down each lane separately. They are planning to re-open the State Street Bridge in November.
Other road closures in the Mahoning Valley are also starting up Monday.
Starting Monday, US Route 62 between Knauf and Calla Roads in Green Township will be closed.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge over Meander Creek.
The road is expected to be closed for the rest of July.
Drivers should take the detour from State Route 224 to State Route 45 onto State Route 165.
The bridge replacement project is scheduled to be complete by late August.
Also beginning Monday, the Chestnut Ridge Road in Hubbard Township will be closed. ODOT is replacing the bridge over Little Yankee Run between Hubbard-Masury Road and the Pennsylvania State Line.
The $850,000 project is expected to be complete by late October.