Ahhh, construction season.
It didn't take long for lengthy lineups to appear after work began on the overpass here last Wednesday afternoon. By late Friday morning, exacerbated by the weekly influx of tourist traffic flooding into Northwestern Ontario at the local border crossing, the eastbound line stretched as far as McTaggarts' office on Scott Street. By 5 p.m., the end still was at the MNRF/Service Ontario building.
Westbound traffic, meanwhile, routinely reached the new Seven Generations Education Institute's building under construction by School Road.
Needless to say, social media was inundated with pictures and complaints, as well as questions why potential bypass routes via Calder Road by Point Park and Williams Avenue/Eighth Street were not being utilized.
To its credit, the town worked with the contractors to make adjustments to the timing of the signal lights, which resulted in a significant decrease in congestion, Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob told council at its meeting Monday night.
The town also was right in its reasoning that re-routing traffic via Calder Road and/or Williams Avenue and Eighth Street was not a viable option given the amount of train traffic at those two crossings that would result in lengthy waits, as well, not to mention the logistics of co-ordinating the flow of eastbound vehicles coming off of Eighth Street and back onto the highway right where the westbound traffic was lined up.
As a compromise, Calder Road will be open this Sunday only to help facilitate getting vehicles carrying families to Point Park for all the Canada Day activities planned there, although train traffic still will be an issue at times.
No one likes the traffic delays caused by construction in the summer months, whether it's here in Fort Frances or travelling along highways or through communities right across the province. But it's a necessary evil in order to repair aging infrastructures that cannot be allowed to deteriorate any further.
Yes, it will be a long summer here with the only route out of town to the east under construction. But with due diligence of the project by the town to get out “the bugs” and patience on the part of motorists, we will get through it.