City officials provided more details, but not all of the specifics, Friday after a major road construction project on the west side of Lethbridge was halted Thursday.
The project has many residents voicing their anger over long traffic delays and worries about emergency response times.
“We though we could handle it, but I think we were a little overwhelmed,” said Richard Brummund, Road and Infrastructure manager with the City of Lethbridge.
The closure of McMaster Boulevard, Macleod Drive and Mount Burke Boulevard West forced a huge increase in traffic on University Drive, which is also undergoing a massive facelift.
The multi-million-dollar project was put on hold Thursday after many residents expressed concerns.
“We had a lot of comments in and right from people going to daycare to schools and dropoffs,” Brummund said.
Some residents say the city should have foreseen the problems. But the city says the high volume of traffic was well beyond its projections.
“We don’t always know exactly where all the routes are and what a change will do but we do anticipate traffic and congestion that could happen,” said Brummund.
Some residents worried about impacts to emergency service response times.
“They’re always involved in the projects and we always try and make sure that we’re not impacting the public so much or the traffic that they can’t get through,” added Brummund.
Amid the changes, the city says this delay won’t impact the construction of another important project slated for the west side.
“The fire hall is very important and obviously the traffic congestion on University Drive for the last few years has warranted this upgrade, so both are very important projects and were working together on finding a way through it,” said Brummund.
The city is now working on adaptations after addressing the public’s concerns.
“I hope we’ve reacted fast enough to help people get to where they need to go to,” Brummund said.
While there was no dollar figure given, the delay will bring additional costs to the McMaster Boulevard project.
For those still worried about heavy traffic, Thursday night crews repaved parts of the intersection to help with Friday morning’s rush-hour commute.