The Emergency Services Problem At Big Ridge

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I have lived on Big Ridge for years but in the last few months, I’ve become increasingly concerned about emergency services to residents on the ridge. 

It is my understanding that Lake Resort Drive used to be the preferred route for emergency vehicles when answering calls on the ridge. However in February 2019, Lake Resort Drive was reduced to one lane when part of the road failed due to “a rain event.”  Traffic flow through those blind curves is regulated by a temporary traffic light.  While that works okay for everyday traffic, how efficient is that for emergency vehicles? It has now been almost a year since the road was closed to two way traffic. I understand that the initial funding expected for the project fell through and that appeals are in process but…really?  Is there not money somewhere in the coffers to fix this road?  I’m absolutely positive that the taxes paid by the residents of Big Ridge would put a sizable dent in the price tag of the repairs.  

While Hamill Road to Cassandra Smith Road (both roads also in disrepair) might be a viable alternative to Lake Resort Drive, it also seems quite unsafe for a large firetruck to navigate those curves and pot-holes. And forget about a firetruck taking Hamill Road all the way to Fairview Road; I’ve seen a plethora of big rigs get stuck in those hairpin curves despite the warning signs at the bottom of the hill.  While I’m no expert, I’m fairly certain a firetruck would have the same issue. 

And finally, heaven help if you have a medical emergency and are trying to get down off the ridge via Hamill Road to Northpark Memorial Hospital.  About 50 percent of the time, there is a train (or multiple trains) just sitting stationary on the tracks across Hamill Road.   

So what does that leave? Big Ridge Road and Gold Crest Drive.  Those are the only unimpeded roads for access on and off the ridge. And they add an extra 20 – 30 minutes to the trip.  That’s a huge difference when you consider it could be someone’s house on fire or a love one suffering from a medical emergency.  

So, in my opinion the continuing road closure creates a public safety hazard.   Please give us a reasonable timeline when we can expect Lake Resort Drive to be repaired and not just repetitively say that it is unclear/uncertain when funding will come through. 

Marsha Lutes


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