*This story has been updated
I’ve been getting messages all afternoon from readers about a traffic mess in Burnaby.
I was told to absolutely avoid this area.
But I live in this area. How can I avoid it?
Well, I tried going out to dinner and taking my sweet time.
You can, however, only take so long to eat so I just headed home. At 6:45 p.m., the area on the north side of Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain was still a gong show – five hours after the first message I received from a reader.
That’s because University Drive East - on the south side of SFU - is closed to traffic due to a massive construction project that appears to be installing some sorts of water or sewer infrastructure. I don’t recall getting any sort of notice about the closure.
They certainly didn’t inform the media – unlike FortisBC, which emails weekly updates.
So with this road closed, all of the traffic up at SFU had to drive behind the school on a two-lane road in order to get down the mountain. It has gone as well as expected – drivers were honking their horns and waving their fists. I saw drivers stop in the middle of intersections, blocking other traffic.
What I saw was a mess.
I don’t know how long this road will be closed because there are no signs that I saw giving an end date or directing me to website for information.
Whoever is in charge of this project could learn a lesson from FortisBC.
*Since posting this blog on Wednesday, I drove the route again Thursday morning and noticed new signs posted that simply listed detours. They don't describe how long the project will go on for.
One UniverCity resident said she was told the project will be going for "two to three weeks" and that it took her 20 minutes to drive a stretch that normally takes her three minutes.
Another reader said she received an email from the SFU Community Trust, but I am not on that list. A lot of people are telling me they aren't on that list either.
They really need to just put up large signs telling drivers the road is closed and for how long. That would be the best warning.
Another reader, Paul Salandini, wrote me to say that on Wednesday night it took him three times as long to drive his daughter to her martial arts class due to the driving delays. He said that if he knew about the road closure ahead of time, he would have left earlier.
Reader Lorraine King wrote to say that a second construction project at SFU is going on at the same time, causing further delays.
“The flaggers were particularly inept at the three-way stop sign at the very top of Gaglardi, where it intersects University Drive East/West,” King wrote. “While traffic was backed up eastwards past the three-way stop sign further east (South Campus Road/University Drive East), they were letting lines of 6-8 vehicles at the top of Gaglardi pass through the 3-way stop. The situation was made worse due to the significant numbers of pedestrians in the area at that time of day wanting to catch buses down the mountain. This is because the bus stops have already been temporarily reassigned to the location between Gaglardi and the west parkade entrance, due to the construction on South Campus Road to install the Corix energy utility there. One has to wonder who had the bright idea to replace the culvert, blocking one main entrance to campus parking and UniverCity, while the Corix construction has another main exit along South Campus Road totally blocked off.”