Loop 323 Construction Ties Up Drivers, 911 Operators - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/18/02 - Tyler

Loop 323 Construction Ties Up Drivers, 911 Operators

   911 Dispatcher: "Tyler 911, what is your emergency? police, fire, or ambulance?" Caller: "This is not an emergency. It's a traffic issue." 911 dispatcher: "Is it Broadway and the Loop?" Caller: "Yes."

   Over and over and over, people have called the emergency line-- 911 -- because they're stuck in traffic.

   Dispatcher: "OK, and what's going on, Sir? Caller: Gridlock on the Loop and South Broadway. You'd better get some cops out here, because nobody's going anywhere."

   These calls are from last Friday. The new median project and the orange barrels had folks idling the day away. Looking for someone to tell.

   Caller: "I need the police." 911 dispatcher: "What's the problem?" Caller: "It's the traffic at Loop and South Broadway." 911 dispatcher: "There's nothing we can do. They're doing construction."

   It was frustrating...

   Caller: "You definitely need to do something because it's a nightmare." Dispatcher: "OK." Caller: "Because someone's going to get in a wreck." But police say 911 is only to be used when there's a real danger to people or property.

   "The big danger with 911 is that we have a limited number of people who can answer 911 calls. "We're blocking out those who may be calling with real emergencies," says Tyler Police Officer Chris Moore.

   After police arrived that Friday, the calls tapered off... but some still had to get it off their chest.

   911 dispatcher: "...police, fire, or ambulance?" caller: "Ma'am, I don't need an ambulance. There's traffic backed up over here, it's pitiful..."

   Police still say to stay patient... even if you get stuck. The construction will last another four weeks... And we're all in this together.

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