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Living in a construction zone has its challenges

['Community Editorial Panel, Jerry Randall']
['Community Editorial Panel, Jerry Randall']

Community Editorial Panel with Jerry Randall

On Monday, July 10, the company responsible for removing pavement from East Victoria Street from Rupert Street to close to Abby Road started their work, and since that date it has been quite an experience for the residents of that area.

Along with digging up the road, one company was hired to provide another source of water to all residents. That job involved laying a pipe along the surface of everyone’s property, and then hooking a garden-style hose to that pipe and everyone’s outside tap in order to feed water through the tap to the house.

Of course, all homeowners were required to turn off the regular shut off valve in their home to allow the new water source to feed into the home. That process was fed from a fire hydrant. It worked OK, but usual pressure was compromised, and in our third floor bathroom the water pressure was just about non-existent.

That has been a major nuisance, but we endure.

At one point someone up on Elmwood Drive ran over the backyard water source with a mower and compromised a tap. That caused water to leak at that location, and cut off water to the homes using it. This, of course, happened on a weekend so people needed to be located and brought to the scene to fix the problem, which took a bit of time, but at least it did get fixed on the same day.

The process of getting in and out of the construction zone with our vehicles has been an ongoing bit of a nightmare, especially if trying that manoeuvre after dark. As it turned out, the process was never dangerous. Workers parked heavy equipment around the big holes and trenches, thus cutting off access to death-causing areas. But the parts of the road that were passable were really rough, and were really only fit for vehicles with a high wheelbase.

A lot of people wondered regularly why the people responsible for the mess could not have levelled off the access area of the road a bit better. Once or twice there was considerable rain, and the road turned to mud, which was to be expected because the road had been built up using topsoil, and that, of course, always makes the best mud. Thank goodness we have not had a wet summer or fall.

During all the construction a number of different companies were responsible for the work being done. It was interesting to watch them open a trench, lay pipe, close up the trench, and then see it opened up again to install more pipe. Quite a few residents couldn’t understand why they just couldn’t open a trench, remove the old piping, install all of the new stuff, and then close it all up. I had a chance to ask one of the workers why it was necessary to open and close the trenches so often, and his explanation was that obvious that it made me look pretty stupid. If they had done all the work without closing and opening trenches, the road would have been impossible to traverse at all through all of the time of construction. Duh!

Sections of relatively new sidewalk had to be removed for access, new curbs had to be removed for the same reason, gas lines had to be located and well marked for safety. Even then, a line was damaged once, and people were diverted, emergency vehicles and crews put on the scene on standby, and all safety measures followed to the letter. The repair was completed without incident, but it is good to know there are proper procedures in place if needed.

Now the job is nearing an end. It appears all the in-ground pipe work has been completed, and the water line has been filled and samples sent to Moncton for testing. It seems safe to assume that process is necessary to make sure the water flowing through the new pipes will not be contaminated when residents finally are serviced through the system, and the backyard pipes and hose feeding water through outside taps are removed. Contractors are removing the topsoil and filling up the depth with rock in preparation for paving. This process is quite a big project, so it will still be some time before the road is fully serviceable to traffic.

But there is a light through the clouds of dust, giving residents strong hope that the job will be completed before the snow flies. I’ve been told the project is proceeding on time. If that is so, and I have no reason to doubt it, the engineers, the contractors, and the men doing the actual work, are to be congratulated.

As for Vicki and I, we look forward to an end to the beep, beep, beep and heavy equipment in reverse at 7:00 a.m.


Jerry Randall is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel

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