Moncton — As detours in the city continue to snarl traffic and test commuters’ patience, a second wave of delays is hampering progress as many construction workers in the city are also finding themselves victim of the seemingly never-ending roadwork.
“I was 40 minutes late getting to the downtown construction site by King Street this morning,” said flag person Genevieve Melanson. “I was supposed to be there in time to handle rush-hour traffic, but I got stuck along with everyone else trying to leave the Jones Lake area with two lanes closed.”
“Last week, we were working much slower than usual since half our crew was over playing in the dirt or whatever they’re doing over at the intersection by the Tims on Elmwood,” according to operating engineer Terry Blanchard. “A lot of them got stuck at the Tims drive-thru and called to tell me they would be late because of the traffic.
“Or maybe they were on up on Morton working on that new construction by the university. Wait, was I supposed to be there instead? Crap, I hope someone remembered to open those lanes again.”
On top of delays, the work has also caused confusion among the city’s crews, with many now unsure of where one construction site ends and another begins.
“The other day, we got distracted while doing some of the redevelopment work on the new Downing Street and ended up accidentally putting a sidewalk down the middle of the new downtown convention centre,” said foreman Jason Steeves. “Hey, it’s not our fault — there are pylons everywhere, and the flag guy from the other site waved us through.
“It’s like that movie Inception, but with construction.”
When asked why the majority of the work hadn’t been completed before the busy back-to-school days, Steeves explained how the workers’ unions had reached an agreement with the city stipulating they would not be forced to work during the summer Olympics.
“Our guys don’t miss water polo,” he said. “Never.”
The construction is also impeding the growing number of violent armed robbers in Moncton, who say the delays and detours are hurting their carefully crafted getaway plans.