With nothing to watch on television during the long hot summer, and virtually nothing worth taking in at the movie theater, thank goodness for the entertainment provided by watching the freeway interchange project at Traffic Way just a couple hundred feet from the Catholic church.
In fact, it has been the best show in town.
Although the project appears to be nearing completion, there still might be some time left to get some kind of pool on when it will actually be finished.
I live less than 1,000 feet from this project that, when completed, will feature a red brick façade on the bridge itself and new railings at the freeway level. On the street level there will be sidewalks and street lighting to match what has been installed in the rest of the downtown, including pavers in a portion of the sidewalk.
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I’ve mentioned how fascinated I become watching construction, and this project has provided me with months of amazement as workers pour curbs and gutters, only to tear them out weeks or months later. In fact, only last week workers ripped out the new sidewalk on the south side of Traffic Way and on Friday poured new concrete pathways, this time taking in the bases for the street lighting. It’s been in the ground for almost four days now, but then they don’t work on Saturday and Sunday.
Even the workers’ schedule has been sporadic. It appears they work one day and then are gone for a dozen or more. I reported that there had been some sort of contract dispute months ago that delayed the project. Of the three off- and on-ramps involved in this project, they’ve striped one so far in the past four weeks.
This has historically been the ugliest off-ramp in Atascadero, and it is right in the heart of a downtown that city councils over the past decade have been trying to beautify. So anything down here is going to be an improvement. In fact, it already is.
Pedestrians haven’t been able to walk beneath the freeway here for about a year. Those who did walk here pushing baby strollers walked in the traffic lanes, dodging vehicles entering and exiting the freeway and high school traffic before and after school. It was a dangerous trek getting through to the safety of the St. William’s Catholic Parish parking lot.
All of us who have been watching the project inch its way toward completion will have to find new entertainment soon. This comedy of errors has been a delight to watch.
I’m betting the end is near. In fact, I want in on the pool. Put me down for Oct. 15.
Lon Allan writes special to The Tribune. He can be reached at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.