The city has revised its protocol emergency protocol for Whoop Up Drive after reviewing an incident that left the road to the west side at a standstill for several hours this summer.
The revisions are aimed at enhancing emergency response procedures and ensuring efficient traffic management during emergencies.
They prioritize providing two-way traffic on Whoop Up if one of the directions is closed because of an emergency on the bridge or approach lanes and providing maximum one-way movement in either direction in the event of a mass evacuation on either side of the city.
“These changes will provide better communication between internal stakeholders and will enable faster activation of this protocol whenever it is needed, regardless of whether an incident occurs within or outside of normal business hours,” says Joel Sanchez, director of infrastructure services. “We have identified opportunities for improvements after the event on June 28, and we were ultimately able to use the situation for these needed improvements.”
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services chief and director of emergency management Greg Adair says the protocol is a living document that can evolve.
“Next steps include conducting a tabletop exercise on the activation of this protocol. Any learnings from this or subsequent exercises and incident debriefs will be used to continually improve the protocol to better ensure that it works when we need it,” he says.
The closure on June 28 this year was worsened by collisions on Highway Three at the other river crossing. The city says the a debrief of the incident identified opportunities to improve inter-departmental collaboration and enable faster activation of emergency protocol when needed.