Cochrane Fire Chief Shawn Polley says first responders have solid plans and strong communications in place to be ready to roll through the extensive road construction and traffic congestion.
There's been an outpouring of concern expressed, and the town ensures residents that safety remains the top priority.
"We've been working with our contractors throughout the entire construction window, not only on the Hwy. 1A- 22 interchange, but also on Centre Ave. and of course through the downtown core," says Fire Chief Polley. "So we're actually actively engaged in getting the right information at the right time."
He says their fire truck drivers and crews receive the first-hand information promptly.
"Nothing is a surprise for us. So we have identified routes to get to affected parts of our community, like the east end of Cochrane and, of course, Gleneagles, which is also in our travel corridor, and the downtown core. Anything outside of that has been less impacted, but certainly, we want to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible."
There is a strong protocol in place with construction flaggers and contractors for when emergency vehicles are moving through construction zones. He says they've been doing a good job at keeping safe travel lanes and traffic flowing.
"So, we're asking citizens to be mindful of that. Those flaggers keep an eye out for them. They're working for the citizens to keep the traffic flowing as efficiently and smoothly as possible and keep the whole work zone safe."
Fire, ambulance, police, and municipal enforcement vehicles regularly face challenges through construction zones and heavy traffic, and they ask motorists to watch for emergency lights flashing or sirens wailing.
"We are asking our citizens to pull to the right and stop or follow the directions of the flaggers as we move efficiently through the work zone, wherever that happens to be."
"They've been key and very instrumental in helping us move through those traffic zones over the last couple of years as those projects have been scheduled through the summer, the spring, summer, and fall. So I would say the flaggers have been instrumental in ensuring that we can get there quicker."
Polley says response times have remained consistent through the construction and rush hour traffic.
"There are times when we're delayed, and it's no different than if a train is going through town. We make informed decisions on whether to wait for the train to pass or take the overpass through to 1A and 22. The response officers are looking at their routes and looking at the construction map and ensuring that they know what the best way to move."
He says they thank residents and motorists for their patience.
"We appreciate the efforts that citizens are making as they travel around the Town of Cochrane, especially this weekend when we've got some big events happening."
One final reminder.
"If you see lights in your rearview mirrors and you hear the sirens in the area, pay attention to where we are coming from. If it's coming from behind, we're asking citizens to pull to the right and stop, or if they're in a construction zone, follow the directions of a flagger."
'We really look forward to everybody having a safe long weekend."
He says up-to-date information on road construction can be found here.
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