By Dave S. Clark
Complaining about road construction… it’s about as original as complaining about taxes, the weather or your annoying neighbours. It’s cliché and probably pointless, especially in a city with Edmonton’s climate. Most of the year the roads are freezing then thawing then freezing again and continuously crumbling. For the few months of the year that construction is possible, there’s an all out blitz to repair the cracks and fill the craters of our always-expanding road network.
But as tired and regurgitated as this rant may be, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m sick of construction. I’m fed up with waiting for bobcats, dump trucks and line painters. Every time I see an orange barrier ahead, I have the urge to turn onto a side road and find an alternative route to avoid the major delays I know are ahead. When I do get adventurous and attempt a DIY detour, it probably ends up taking longer than waiting in the queues like everyone else, but it’s satisfying knowing I didn’t have to wait. Of course sometimes it’s an aggravating affair, but that’s the chance you take.
Everyone is annoyed with the construction projects, but something pushed me over the edge to make me write this column. I live in the northeast part of the city, but I regularly frequent downtown and I usually use either 112 Avenue or 118 Avenue to head west before I head south to the city’s core. North of the river and south of the Yellowhead, these are the only two avenues that run east and west, with Northlands right in the middle. And what do those two avenues have in common? They are both only functioning at half their capacity because of construction. The eastbound lanes of 112 Avenue are completely torn up and crews have closed 118 Avenues eastbound lanes to replace the sidewalk.
I’m not going to argue that both these projects need to be done. They probably do. But did they need to be done simultaneously? I doubt it. When the city does major construction projects, they tell people to use other routes to avoid congestion. What happens when the only other logical alternative is just as backed up?
So I’d like to hear from you. What construction projects are annoying you the most this summer? Please let me know in the Comments section below.