DURANT, OK -- A three vehicle pileup sent two people to the hospital Tuesday afternoon in Durant and first responders say traffic due to road construction may have played a role in that crash, but they say it also slowed down their response time
Three separate lane closures on and near 69/75 are slowing down travelers, but could also create some dangerous situations. First responders say they are worried the traffic delay could mean the difference between life and death.
Durant Fire Captain Steve Kelso says the traffic build up along 69/75 is just one factor that led to the three vehicle accident that sent two people to an area hospital with minor injures.
"The problem with looking off when you are in a lot of traffic caused one vehicle hitting another one in the back and it chained reaction," Kelso said.
He says the traffic is not only an issue for travelers. First responders say the traffic has increased their emergency response time up to five minutes.
"One single traffic lane there makes it hard to get an apparatus between in and out and get down to that accident," Kelso said.
"It's a big concern for the holiday not only for accidents but any houses that are down on that side of town," Lt. Dustin Rudolf, with Durant Fire, said.
"Minutes are crucial. We have a circle of life, you know, we want to get first responders there as quick as we can," James Dalton said.
Director of Bryan County Emergency Management James Dalton says if you see lights and hear sirens to move out of the way.
"You pull as far to the right as you can and stop. Let them maneuver around you," Dalton said.
Dalton also reminds drivers not to ignore road signs. He says if you do it can lead to more harm than just a ticket.
"Your endangering people if it is in the daytime when they are working. They've already prepped that road to be poured or layed with black top and if people drive over that then your just slowing that process."
First responders share other vital words of advice to keep you and your family safe while traveling this holiday season.
"Be alert. Don't mess with the cell phones, and try to pay attention to everything that's going on all the way around," Rudolf said.
"Calm down, think about it, your going to get there it just takes a little longer or leave a little bit earlier if you need to," Kelso said.
"Start slowing down. Don't be in a rush. We realize it's the holidays, but we want you to get where you are going safely," Dalton said.
Some of the construction zones you need to be aware of in Durant:
The bridge on South 9th Street is closed. Cale Switch is also closed for resurfacing. Those closures are limiting back up routes and putting more people on 69/75.
Alternate routes you can take:
Highway 78 -- Emergency officials say this route is not the best for large trucks/semis.