Temporary inconvenience, permanent improvement — so they say

Courtesy of discountmugs

Courtesy of discountmugs

About a month or two ago an ominous sign appeared on a well-traveled road near my home. It happens to be the one I use to get to a lot of places including Starbucks.

The sign said “Road Closed June 10.” To me that means it will be closed one day — possibly for a resurfacing of the bridge. It would be annoying but you can handle anything for a day.

In today’s paper, there was an article about the upcoming repair. It is routine maintenance but the bridge will be out all summer. ALL SUMMER! Unfortunately, the detour will add 10 to 15 minutes to a normal 3 minute trip and take you on a road that doesn’t normally get much traffic.

Perhaps I’m sounding whiney. Well, I am! To get from one side of the city to the other you have to cross a bridge. There are a limited number of bridges. This particular bridge gets 10,000 cars a day traveling on it. That’s according to the newspaper article.

The bridge to the east has been closed for two years. They are currently working on it and expect it to be open by the end of this year. Folks who normally use that bridge have been coming over to “my” bridge. Now we both will move over to the next bridge.

Wouldn’t it make sense to stall off this “routine” maintenance until next year? The Department of Transportation was concerned that another year would require even greater repairs. Of course, they were also fearful of losing the money. It sounds like if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I know this isn’t a great tragedy. It just seems that every summer the road work tangles up your routines and snarls your nerves. It’s not just about rerouting and going a different way. It’s also about using roads that aren’t made for heavy traffic which means backups and cranky drivers. Cranky drivers do weird things. Here are some examples:

  • Honk their horn when everyone knows no one can move. Perhaps it’s just their way of relieving stress or maybe gas.
  • Turn up their radio so that your car (and head) reverberates.
  • Make strange signals with their fingers. Hmmm….wonder what that means.

Last summer was a nasty one. A major artery had lane closures for several months. There was an intersection where left-turns were prohibited. That didn’t stop little old people from continuing to attempt to turn left and backing up traffic for miles. Seriously, all the people I saw trying to turn left (with a big sign staring at them saying not to) were grey haired ladies!

In the end this may be a boon for Starbucks as I may have to double my consumption just to get through it!

31 thoughts on “Temporary inconvenience, permanent improvement — so they say

  1. Pingback: You’re driving me crazy! | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  2. “Honk their horn when everyone knows no one can move. Perhaps it’s just their way of relieving stress or maybe gas.
    Turn up their radio so that your car (and head) reverberates.
    Make strange signals with their fingers. Hmmm….wonder what that means.”

    Are you sure you haven’t somehow landed in Israel? This kind of behaviour is par for the course for Israeli drivers. 😉


    • People are the same all over. Impatient, easily irritated. One difference we see here is that road rage has become more violent. Just this past weekend, someone killed another driver over a road rage incident. It’s just not worth that!


  3. I feel your pain, Kate, and totally relate to it. Since April, and until at least October, we have two of the most direct routes closed from the west side of town (where we are ) to the east side (where we mostly have to go). One route is for a new bridge; the other is to expand by two more lanes. Both are a mess. Luckily, we have Starbuck’s on this side of the city, too, but I agree with you that construction brings out the worst in drivers.


    • In the past 10 years we have had some very major construction on interstate roads. For the most part I didn’t use them much but many employees used them to get to work. I would hear the tales every morning.


  4. There is a big road construction company in our town. So the highway that passes through our town is always under construction – because it is a short commute for the construction team. Why repair something that need repair when you can look busy here forever?


  5. Road construction is a headache for businesses, too. It is a nuisance, and it would have been better if they fixed the first bridge before beginning work on another bridge. Still, no one wants a repeat of that bridge disaster.

    When I went for my Master’s degree, I went to University of Central Florida. Some jokester, referring to ongoing construction there, said UCF stood for Under Construction Forever. Hope your dilemma is resolved soon, Kate.


  6. We have three major road constructions happening here at the same time. (Tonight a four mile section of I-5 shuts down for the weekend. That should be interesting.) Anyway… just this afternoon while taking a detour I came out on a road with a sign tell me I was on yet another detour. If I wasn’t from the area, I’d still be sitting at the intersection wondering what to do.
    Good luck in your summer travels…


  7. I seriously feel your pain! My community has two main streets that run through it that the vast majority of traffic use to get from one side of town to the other. They just closed one of them for over a month! I guess they need to put in a new sewer main. This has not been a good thing! At the other end of the road closure is Home Goods, Ross, Kirkland Home, and our favorite Philly Steak and hamburger places. Sigh!


  8. If I am correct…getting your coffee should not be a huge difference…however taking it home is another story.  Amazing how many detours there are in our community!


    • You are correct. It looks like they will maintain one way traffic on the road. However, it will be a nightmare with the heavy traffic, slow speeds and orange cones. (I hate orange cones. To me they are there to hit!)


  9. Nooooo! Not that sign of doom!
    There are few roads here – and if one has construction (and one always does) traffic and tempers snarl – and it’s worse on nice weekends and in summer when tourists arrive.
    Sounds like long drives over much troubled waters for you (caffeine is the only hope)


  10. It’s all relative. I have a 68 mile round trip commute to get to work. But I can understand the pain of having your commute tripled to get ANYWHERE!. I like the Long Island Iced Tea idea. If you do that, you won’t have to drive 🙂


  11. We went through the same sort of bridge rebuilding mess a few years ago. Ours was supposed to be out for a year, but it took 18 months. The sad part of it was that a few small businesses along the road to the bridge went out of business because there was no traffic that way anymore. I wish you the best with the inevitable inconvenience.


    • No businesses will be directly affected but the route to get to them may discourage some. A few years back there was a really big project on a major road with businesses and even with the road crew creating temporary entrances, the businesses suffered because no one wanted to drive on the road. That is a bigger issue than my inconvenience.


  12. In Toronto we say we have two seasons. Winter and construction. Good luck with it. I’m tense just reading your blog :).


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