US 52 in Winston-Salem closures to impact commuters and EMS crews

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Winston-Salem, N.C.--The N.C. Department of Transportation says on June 10th it will close the ramps from US 52 to Third, Fourth, and Fifth Streets in Winston-Salem meaning commuters and Forsyth County E.M.S must make changes to their daily routes.

The ramps are being closed as part of the U.S. 52 widening project. The road will be widened and new acceleration and merge lanes added near the Business I-40 interchange.

Forsyth County E.M.S. has it's main hub at the top of one of the ramps because it was a good way to access both major highways.

Operations Officer Rodney Overman said, "this was a prime location because could go north,south, east or west very rapidly from here."

E.M.S officials said closing the ramps will add several seconds, maybe a minute or more to response time for ambulances because emergency crews will have to drive to ramps on Martin Luther King Junior Drive to access the highway.

"If you are the one that has dialed 911 it seems like an eternity to you anyway," said Overman.

The D.O.T. has improved the ramps for M.L.K. Junior Drive added turn lanes and stop lights to help E.M.S crews access the highway faster.

While E.M.S. officials say they understand the reasoning behind the ramp closures, Overman said, "this is going to have dramatic impact, but our job is to minimize the impact on it."

Work on the widening project should be completed by November 2012.

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