Patience for paving project
If theres one drawback to the ease of recent road reconstruction projects, its that it might have lulled motorists into thinking all such efforts will be that painless.Now, with another project shutting down Midland Avenue and snaring traffic moving downvalley, especially at rush hour, drivers are losing both perspective and patience.The two phases of the Grand Avenue Paving Project might have been so smooth and easy that drivers got used to the luxury of not having to take all the precautions officials recommended. Yet, theyre still continuing to make them city engineer Larry Thompson makes suggestions in his biweekly Transportation Responsibility and You column and following those recommendations still works a lot better than getting angry and getting on the horn.Its not as if they didnt warn us. But when drivers get used to operations going more quickly and smoothly than officials warn, even a project that goes according to schedule will irritate drivers. GAPP was over before anybody expected, before many people hoped, and tied up traffic less than anybody feared. Now that were feeling the impacts of the Midland Avenue construction projects, were so spoiled we think its worse than they warned us.That its happening in Glenwood Springs makes the traffic problems a double-edged sword: Highway 82 is the only artery up and down the valley, so theres no alternate route to and from work; the fact that Glenwood Springs doesnt shut down like some of the ski towns in the area means theres no obvious, ideal time to perform the project when commerce and traffic slow. But were willing to venture a guess that now is a much better time to alter traffic patterns than in the middle of winter weather, at the height of tourist season or in the fall, when the Meadows project opens.The point of so many construction projects is to make the roads better. Whether its a project to improve traffic flow like the roundabouts going in now or heavy construction to keep the roads from failing under heavy use in the future, theyre all necessary to one degree or another, and the nature of road construction makes them inconvenient. But theyre seldom as inconvenient as travel would be without fixing the roads.The delays that are driving motorists certainly arent ideal, but theyre unavoidable, and from a planning standpoint, they just might represent the best possible solution certainly a better one than angrily punching the horn or the buttons to dial a complaint hotline.
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