Tronson Road

Tronson Road sewer upgrade project in Vernon can certainly qualify for the worst planned, managed and executed project of the year.

Tronson Road sewer upgrade project in Vernon can certainly qualify for the worst planned, managed and executed project of the year.

The project started at the beginning of August and it was initially planned to be finished by the end of October. Then, in September, it was announced that the project will be delayed till the end of November.

I am one of those who need to travel Tronson Road regularly, so I was able to make a few observations. Initially, in August, the project started at a leisurely pace, contractor crew working almost on the 9 to 5 schedule, with all weekends off.  Once, while waiting for the road to open, I counted vehicles coming from the opposite direction – 22 cars. Presuming that the similar number of cars was waiting on our side makes around 40 vehicles delayed in one batch only. Being second in the line my waiting time was 24 minutes. Cars at the end of the line did not have to wait that long, what makes average delay around 12 minutes per car. Assuming that there was just a single occupant in each car, it makes 40 people delayed by some eight hours. Multiply this by number of batches per day and by the number of days and you can see that the time wasted here can be counted in thousands of hours. I wonder if anyone considered this when planning the project.

Besides major inconvenience there are other serious impacts of the project. One is the environment. While waiting, in the hope that the road would open shortly, very few drivers bother to shut their engine. Many tons of CO2 are spewed into atmosphere. Multiple gas line breaks, as reported in The Morning Star, also represent negative impacts.

Some city officials are now taking a position of Pontius Pilate – washing their hands, basically saying that the contractor has a problem. Not so fast. It must be also extremely frustrating for the contractor’s crew to have their work interrupted every 20 to 25 minutes just to let traffic from both sides to pass. But serious questions arise on how well thought out has been the planning process of the project. Knowing that Tronson Road is the only access road for several thousand people, why was the project of this length and complexity scheduled to begin in August with a likelihood of slippage to late fall and potentially winter months? Why was the contractor working basically on easy schedule with Saturdays and Sundays off during the best construction time in August and September? Has two shifts operation been even considered?

It is perhaps not too early to issue a report card for all those who got us into this mess.

Here you have it–F.

Nathaniel Royko



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