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City forgets to put up signs, accidentally creates major traffic jam

Click to play video: 'City of Regina forgets to put up signs, accidentally creates infuriating traffic jam' City of Regina forgets to put up signs, accidentally creates infuriating traffic jam
Construction season is taking its toll on Regina traffic, but it reached a boiling point when south-end commuters found the Assiniboine on-ramp closed without warning. Colton Prail reports – Jun 27, 2018

“Traffic was not moving at all, so after a couple of minutes I’m like I have to do something so I turned around and went back to where I was,” Noush Habeeb Kutty said.

Habeeb Kutty is one of the many commuters who were stranded in Regina’s south-east quarter as they waited in traffic to get on a highway that they didn’t know was closed.

“It was quite difficult. It definitely cost me a solid twenty minutes of delay. I wish there had been some signage,” Habeeb Kutty said.

He wasn’t the only one with that complaint. The city received nearly 70 phone calls as well as complaints over social media thanks to the lack of signage.

“This morning was particularly difficult as the city failed to let residents know of changes to detours and did not have adequate signage up along the construction route for the work taking place on the Ring Road,” Norman Kyle, the city director of roadways and transportation admitted.

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“Typically we would have signage done in advance, but this was a changeover from the current restriction to the new one. Overnight we opened the Arcola ramps while closing the Assiniboine ones; it was a fair bit of work for the crews and we didn’t have all the signage we should’ve,” Kyle added.

The result was that commuters arrived at the Assiniboine Avenue on-ramp before realizing it was closed.

It caused a traffic jam that spanned hundreds of cars, and cost commuters valuable time.

“One guy I was supposed to meet, had a meeting, I think it was at 8:00 a.m., I think he was about 20-25 minutes late, so it affected quite a few people I think,” Gerard Rousseaux told Global News.

The affected area has become one of the busiest corridors of the city.

“Just before Ring Road, Arcola Avenue has about 45,000 vehicles a day, so at peak hour that would be in the neighbourhood of 4,000-5,000 vehicles,” Kyle estimated.

The city has since set up signage to better direct the flow of traffic, and are working to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again.

“Mistakes happen, but we will be reviewing our processes to ensure that we don’t have misses like this. Especially with roads that have high traffic volumes,” Kyle said.

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The delays are something drivers won’t have to endure much longer. Paving on Ring Road is expected to be complete July 13.

READ MORE: 2018 Construction plan for Regina

“The work is actually going quite quickly we’ve actually accelerated it by having all three of our city pavers out there paving in echelon. It speeds up the project, not only that but it provides better quality of pavement,” Kyle noted.

The larger project involving work on the Victoria Avenue off-ramps won’t be complete until October.

The city has allotted roughly $35 million for construction this year, the Ring Road paving accounts for $1.5 million.

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