Liv­ing in a con­struc­tion zone has its chal­lenges

The Amherst News - - OP ED - Jerry Ran­dall is a mem­ber of the Amherst News Com­mu­nity Editorial Panel

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. at 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 o the reg­u­lar shut o valve in their home to al­low the new wa­ter source to feed into the home. at process was fed from a re hy­drant. It worked OK, but usual pres­sure was com­pro­mised, and in our third oor bath­room the wa­ter pres­sure was just about non-ex­is­tent.

at 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 o wa­ter to the homes us­ing it. is, of course, hap­pened on a week­end so peo­ple needed to be lo­cated and brought to the scene to x the prob­lem, which took a bit of time, but at least it did get xed on the same day.

e 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 o 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 o 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. ank 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 stu , 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. e 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 lled and sam­ples sent to Monc­ton for test­ing. It seems safe to as­sume that process is nec­es­sary to make sure the wa­ter ow­ing through the new pipes will not be con­tam­i­nated when res­i­dents nally are ser­viced through the sys­tem, and the back­yard pipes and hose feed­ing wa­ter through out­side taps are re­moved. Con­trac­tors are re­mov­ing the top­soil and lling up the depth with rock in prepa­ra­tion for paving. is 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 ies. 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.

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