First responders struggle to get to car accident, NCDOT says no changes will be made

- We have new details about the accident that shut down I-77 during morning rush hour on Wednesday. We also asked why it took first responders more than twice their average response time to get to the scene.

These snippets from the scanner help give us an idea of what happened that day.

Scanner: "Responding to I-77 and 85 (...) 18-wheeler versus a SUV. Pin in. No further information."

It was the perfect storm.

An accident that shut down I-77 northbound during rush hour traffic.

The initial call sent first responders to I-77 and 85.

When the accident was closer to exit 16.

Scanner: "North is shut down at 85 due to traffic." "28, may be easier for you to access from Sunset."

Several fire trucks were sent to the accident including all the way from Huntersville.

Scanner: "Engine 5, Ladder 4, and Rescue 10 sitting in traffic. We can't move anybody." "Would you like us to send rescue from Huntersville?" "Engine 28 is on the scene. We've got about a six car pile-up."

Engine 28 got there first.

Eleven minutes after the initial call. The average response time for Charlotte fire is four and a half minutes.

First responders said they had to get out of their trucks to direct traffic.

They even called for help to move the concrete barrier.

Scanner: "You have a contact with Sugar Creek Construction to find out if they have anybody working in this zone that would be able to come up here? If get a Bobcat or something that's able to move one of these concrete barriers it would be a whole lot easier to get these patients out."

A total of four Charlotte fire vehicles made it.

Two others from Charlotte and another truck from Huntersville were canceled before they arrived.

Tony Tagliaferri, the Metrolina Regional ITS Engineer with NCDOT, talks about the accident and delayed response.

"It was no different than any other different crash that happens on an interstate especially where we have an active work zone."

We told him how several drivers blame the concrete barrier for the delay in emergency response to the accident.

He disagreed.

"From an NCDOT perspective, the crews followed our incident management plan to the letter of the plan. They were able to get there and respond. We haven't heard anything negative from them as far as their response to the incident or having any issues."

Charlotte Fire says the contractor lets them know where they can access the work zone in case of an emergency.

But Huntersville Fire says they don't know where those access points are. Saying "it's a roll of the dice" every time they have to respond on I-77 in the construction area.

We asked NCDOT if changes will be made regarding the access points or emergency pull off areas.

Tagliaferri said, "At this point, there won't be any changes because the crews were still able to get to the incident following their prescribed plan. They did a great job of getting there and getting the response going.”

FOX 46 Charlotte will continue to work to get results in regards to this story and others involving I-77.

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