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‘It’s ludicrous’: McCarthy Boulevard construction paves way for angry drivers

Construction causes headaches for drivers on McCarthy Boulevard
WATCH: Regina drivers react to another dose of construction on McCarthy Boulevard.

It’s déjà vu for drivers in Regina’s northwest, as construction on McCarthy Boulevard is starting up for a second season.

The “carry forward project” started last year with the city digging up parts of McCarthy to redo the boulevards and west sidewalk between 9th Avenue North and Dalgliesh Drive. It took weeks of work that resulted in slopes along the edges of the road.

“It’s so bad. If you’re anywhere to the left or the right, your car is pretty much at an angle,” said Rylan Blechinger, a northwest resident. “You’re just bumping across, destroying everybody’s suspension.”

READ MORE: City of Regina investing $85.3 million in summer road and water projects

The project was delayed because of problems with the concrete supply, which resulted in the current road conditions.

Construction started back up on April 29. The city is finishing concrete work along McCarthy’s east curb between 9th Avenue North and Rink Avenue.

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Once completed, the city will pave McCarthy from 9th Avenue North to Dalgliesh Drive.

The construction is expected to take five weeks.

A major headache for residents

Construction has part of McCarthy Boulevard restricted to one lane with a reduced speed limit of 30 km/h.

Neighbouring residents say the work has created congestion, confusion and impatient drivers.

“It’s pretty annoying,” Blechinger said. “It stops everybody and it seems like the traffic’s going nowhere. It’s backed up there for 15 to 20 minutes.”

Blechinger says the traffic makes him late for school and for work. But drivers who try to avoid the street end up running into the same problem.

READ MORE: City of Regina experiencing “backlog” of restoring streetlight power

“I just go around Courtney [Street], but a lot of people are doing that,”  driver Kevin Grieb said. “If you go to work in the morning, it’s twice as much traffic now.”

While construction is slated for five weeks, residents aren’t convinced it will be done on time.

“Last summer, [the construction] took an extremely long time. This year it’s good to see them out there again fixing it, but I don’t know how long that will take” driver Pamela Jespersen said. “You start a project, you want to finish it the first time. That’s the ideal scenario.”

Construction on airport turning lane

While the city says no extra money is being spent to finish last summer’s construction project on McCarthy Boulevard, Global News inquired about the cost of a different project on Lewvan Drive, near the Regina Airport.

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The city added a second left hand turning lane going into the airport on Regina Avenue in the summer of 2015. The city took the lane out of use a few months later because there weren’t two lanes to turn into.

In an email statement, the city says, “This was to ensure the safety of the travelling public when entering the airport, as the existing bridge structure is not wide enough for two lanes of travel.”

READ MORE: City of Regina looking into installing lights on southeast portion of Ring Road

Last fall, crews completely filled the second turning lane with concrete, costing the city $35,000.

The city says the lanes were initially built to accommodate future growth in and around the airport.

“It was more cost effective to prepare Lewvan for a dual lane when other improvements at the intersection were occurring, rather than to do it in the future,” the city said.

The city says the road will remain a single turn lane until Regina Avenue and the bridge to the airport are upgraded to provide space for a dual turn.