Midway through the reconstruction of Union Street in Elmira, residents still have concerns about detoured traffic through their neighbourhood.
Mitigation efforts such as a speed sign and talking with trucking companies have reduced the number of complaints to the township, says project manager Ryan Tucker.
But residents aren’t convinced.
“The slowdown in complaints is from complaint fatigue and fatigue in general. I can guarantee you there are many very unhappy residents still. As neighbours, we do talk to one another and are not at all happy about the situation. The key issues are noise and speeding,” said Duke Street’s Lee Ann Smith.
“I just watched a transport truck drive over the corner of my neighbour’s lawn, literally two minutes ago. Also, there is chronic speeding, especially from drivers who have now found a new shortcut to and from work.
“The noise is ridiculous and starts with trucks before 5 a.m., hitting every bump and dip created from the heavy trucks. I don’t see how the noise bylaw does not apply here. I have all my windows closed and fan on and still hear the banging and feel the vibrations every morning.”
Tucker said the detour route wasn’t ideal, but the township had few options given the location.
“We try to detour traffic to regional roads, unfortunately we did have to use some of our residential roads,” he said.
The work that began in the spring is expected to run through November as crews carry out the $4.9-million reconstruction project at Union, Bauman and College streets.
The timing means neighbourhood concerns will continue for months yet, said resident Mallory Germann.
“There are numerous reasons that the prolonged closure of the end of Union has inconvenienced our neighbourhood. The first being that when they began construction they did not seem to have a back-up plan in place for the flow of traffic, and appeared to scramble to reroute traffic through our street as a result. There was no warning to our area that there would be increased traffic possibilities prior to this construction breaking ground, yet we were given a year and a half notice on the upcoming construction that will be happening on Duke in 2022,” she said in an email.
“Secondly, as a result of there being many large transport trucks and farm equipment being directed to use our street in place of Union, they decided they would place temporary emergency no parking lawn plackets disallowing parking on my side of the street.”
Detoured traffic continues to be a problem, the residents say, noting trucks and other heavy vehicles are the most worrisome.
I live at the four-way stop, and it has always been an issue of people not stopping properly at it, making me uneasy with two young children. With increased traffic, so many more are not stopping, or stopping properly after speeding and making such a racket with air brakes, as well. A small street like ours is not meant to handle such large vehicles with such frequency,” said Germann.
While Tucker notes complaints have petered off, there are no other options for rerouting traffic while construction continues through November. Currently, the work is about two weeks behind schedule due to unexpected discoveries once excavation began and supply shortages related to the pandemic.