Fredericton — Construction, closures and detours have brought the City of Stately Elms to a standstill, with no end in sight to the traffic headache. Earlier this week, the City announced that DTI would be shutting down the Princess Margaret Bridge for repairs, and temporarily replacing it with just one zipline.
“I could see if they had two ziplines, so we could travel both ways at the same time across that expanse,” said Alicia Gomez, 41, whose commute to work is just 15 minutes according to Google Maps, but has been closer to 90 minutes once all the closures are factored in. “But only one? Plus with the time it takes to get strapped into the safety harness, get the helmet on and all that, this is going to take forever to get to and from work!”
The City’s post recommended that drivers “plan [their] route in advance” — an effort that will make little to no difference, considering every possible route has at least one closure or traffic jam to contend with. With the zipline installation, however, the government organization has clarified that, while you’ll be late for work, you might “have just a bit of fun in the meantime.”
Chad Peterson was one of the first to use the zipline this morning, as part of his commute from Devon to the uptown area for work.
“So basically you have a couple options,” he said, sweaty and visibly exhilarated after his ride across the river. “You take your normal hellishly long route to get up to the Princess Margaret. Then you park your car somewhere nearby — wherever you can squeeze it in — and queue up for the zipline. Once you make it across, you can continue on foot to work, and get the car later on the way home. Or you can have one of your unemployed southside buddies pick you up and drive you the rest of the way.
“I wouldn’t recommend taking the bus, because as you know it’ll add another couple hours to your commute, easy.”
Avid cyclist Korey Lansdowne is pleased about the zipline installation — though he agrees the area could do with more than one.
“Dude, it’s sweet! I bike to the zipline, hold my bike all the way across, then just keep on biking to work! It’s risky, yeah, I mean, you could easily get hurt or drop the bike into the river, but I’m kinda an adrenaline junkie anyway. And it’s way less risky than cycling on the roads where all the drivers want to run you over.”
Fredericton Tourism has already claimed the idea as their own, despite having nothing to do with it.
“Come to the Fredericton Capital Region for the #foliage and #trails and #brews, and stay for our very own #zipline!” they posted on Instagram.
Provincial DTI communications representative Mary Peters said the zipline measure is just temporary, until work can be completed on the bridge — which should take no longer than the Marysville bridge construction.
“We’ll use the zipline until constructions is done…unless it proves to be so much fun that people want it to keep it around indefinitely,” she said, fastening her harness. “But hey — we’ll cross that zipline when we get to it!”