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First responders concerned about Hillcrest Road closures during DART construction

First responders concerned about Hillcrest Road closures during DART construction
First responders concerned about Hillcrest Road closures during DART construction 02:38

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It could be only a few seconds or minutes, but it's enough time that Dallas police officers and firefighters are concerned about a months long road construction project very close to one of the department's patrol bureaus. 

Hillcrest Road is the main north-south route used by DPD officers at North Central Patrol and firefighters at Station 13. 

Now, it's hard to get through because of DART rail line construction and will get even harder which some say could put lives at risk. 

So far this year, there have been more than 34,000 calls for service from DPD's North Central Patrol. 

North Central Patrol is one of seven around the city and officers have responded to 538 violent offenses since the beginning of the year.

The bureau's patrol officers rely heavily on Hillcrest Road to answer emergency calls. 

Dallas Fire Rescue's Station 13 is on the same road, just up the street. 

This week, DART reduced Hillcrest Road to one lane on each side and will shut it down completely at times for at least six months to build a rail line. This is raising questions about how public safety around the area will manage. 

"It means everything to us, that's why every fire station is strategically located throughout the city," said Jim McDade with the Dallas Fire Fighters Association.

"In a lot of these neighborhoods, sometimes there's only one way in and there's only one way out so will it slow down response times? Yes that's just cause-and-effect," said Mike Mata with the Dallas Police Association.

Dallas City Council member Cara Mendelsohn accuses DART of not doing enough to consider the needs of public safety. 

"This is going to have big impact on our community," Mendelsohn said.

DART told CBS 11 it had a meeting with Dallas Police on July 27 and another on Aug. 17 to communicate it's plans and " develop and implement solutions and enhancements that will ensure that all emergency vehicles will have full and unfettered access."

Without full access, the head of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association said lost time will put lives and property at risk. 

"When you're looking at fires, fires spread exponentially over time and it's the same thing when it comes to heart attacks and strokes - you lose brain function by every second you're not getting oxygen, you're losing brain function," McDade said. "Seconds absolutely matter to us."

Council member Mendelsohn said she's got a meeting on Tuesday with DART to discuss the matter. 

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