Construction zones: Don’t forget the courtesy!

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Construction is usually a sign of much needed infrastructure upgrades, and an indication that local officials are taking seriously the maintenance required to keep streets and utilities functioning smoothly. Winchester residents – and those who commute through Main Street West in Winchester – have seen such progress taking place over the last few weeks. 

The Township announced last month that rolling lane closures could be expected on Main Street West beginning on May 15 and lasting until September 1. The work being completed is new sewer main construction. The work generally occurs between 7am and 5pm Monday to Friday, though it is expected that some lane closures will have to stay in place beyond these hours, as was the case recently with the street being cut open. A set of traffic lights is patrolling the busy one-lane area, with individual linked traffic control units at the end of each driveway to help residents navigate through the traffic when they need to leave home. 

One resident who lives in the residential area on the north side of Main Street is speaking out regarding the traffic issues being caused not by the construction, but by the blocking of side streets and driveways by inconsiderate motorists. “Apparently, the community has forgotten that you shouldn’t park in front of a street entrance or driveway while waiting at the light,” said the resident who asked to remain anonymous. “The amount of times I have tried to get out of the end of my street and couldn’t because there’s a vehicle there is astronomical. Drivers can leave an opening for the road while waiting at their 3-minute light!”  

The resident has no problem with construction and the progress that it brings, but feels that drivers are forgetting the basic tenets of common courtesy. For example, if motorists who are turning onto Main Street to head away from the construction zone could do so through an opening between waiting cars, it would prevent further congestion from the side streets and therefore make the commute into and out of town quicker for everyone. 

“I get that the light is new, but seriously, the amount of individuals that are blocking driveways and ends of streets is sad,” the resident added. “As a community, we need to think of others and use common sense. Everyone is in a rush but at the end of the day you are hurrying up to wait!”

The construction on Main Street seems to be progressing well, though it has not been without setbacks. Last week, on June 7, a water main was accidentally broken during construction, causing residents west of the LCBO on Main Street to be without water for a period of time. The water and sewer infrastructure in Winchester and Chesterville is aging and is being updated gradually as new developments are proposed and built. Those wishing to access the east side of Winchester without going through the construction zone can take the Winchester bypass on County Road 31 and enter town via St. Lawrence St., but so far, traffic delays from the construction have been minimal. 

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