Saturday, August 25, 2012

My last nerve

The major road construction project here in Lindstrom has landed on my last nerve. 

Bit by bit, it has tested even the most patient residents. I don't believe you could find anyone for miles around with a shred of patience left.

Highway 8, for those who don't already know, is being divided into what's called "split pairs." It's not feasible, apparently, to widen the existing highway, so it is being split by first tearing up the highway entirely and creating two new highways: one going one-way eastbound, and another, formerly a city street one block over, going westbound, also one-way.

I guess we all knew it was inevitable. Highway 8 is notoriously dangerous with a record number of accidents and fatalities. The new project, when completed, should ease the flow of traffic through town and hopefully create new turn lanes which will be safer and more efficient.

That's assuming we live through it all.

Since my husband and I live only one block from the worst of the construction mess, there are days we don't even know how to get off our street or how to get back home again. A makeshift gravel road has been made through the bank parking lot to allow us to get over to another street in order to get anywhere. We tend to think twice before leaving the house.

On foot is not much better. Sidewalks are torn up and closed as well. I walked across the mess today to get to the local alterations shop, Threaded Needle. It was a challenge to walk through the mounds of dirt and dodge the rocks, all the while heavy equipment trucks are moving back and forth, their cranes moving up and down loading and unloading heavy rock.

Possibly the most annoying to us residents is the sudden and unannounced loss of power, or worse, loss of water pressure. We've gone hours without water, cable for television or Internet. Naturally, new pipes need to be laid.

But complain as I do, the hardest hit have been the local businesses. Our little woes are trite compared to theirs. Some have closed, others are near closing, holding their breaths. Still others who would like to open in our town are holding off. Our local grocery market has this sign in their front window, desperate for business from once-loyal customers.

We try to shop local but the construction is not making it easy; certainly more than inconvenient. It really takes an effort.

I've heard they are allowing for bike paths and pedestrian walks, something we've not had before. That will help local businesses, as well as the environment, as it will be easier to get around without starting up the car.

So it's progress and the day will come, although projected to be a year away, when it is finished. Businesses will hopefully prosper, the roads will be safer, and we'll all be very proud. Quiet and settled in at last.

That's assuming I have a nerve left when it's over.