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Albemarle Co. Firefighters Credit New Road with Reducing Response Time

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Sign for Fifth Street Station Parkway in Albemarle County Sign for Fifth Street Station Parkway in Albemarle County
Firetruck at the Monticello Fire Station in Albemarle County Firetruck at the Monticello Fire Station in Albemarle County
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A new shopping center in Albemarle County is getting some credit for more than what you can buy there. The 5th Street Station is also a new favorite for firefighters, thanks to a cut-through street that connects two key roads.

The Albemarle County Fire Department says it's seeing about a 3 minute drop in response times for calls that take it to certain parts of town. While that may not seem like a lot, those minutes are crucial when lives are at stake.

"This will sound a little cliché, but certainly seconds count. When we're talking about 3 minutes worth of time, that certainly is a significant improvement no matter what the situation is. But certainly in a grave emergency, any amount of time we can save is going to be an improvement," said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief John Opandy.

The department is crediting that reduced time to the new Fifth Street Station Parkway, which cuts around the new shopping center, but also connects Avon Street and 5th Street. In the past, crews at the Monticello Fire Station - which is on Mill Creek Drive, off of Avon St. - often had to either take Interstate 64 or go through downtown Charlottesville in order to respond to emergency calls in the area of 5th St.

Now, firetrucks can avoid the hassle of the interstate and the stop and go of city traffic.

Opandy says there is really not many things that can be done to shave response times, since firetrucks can only go so fast. So a new shortcut like this has big benefits.

The department will continue to monitor the response times going forward since the shopping center really hasn't been open that long.

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