Celebrate, motorists of Estevan: the traffic snarl of 2014 has come to an end.
Yes, 13th Avenue from Fourth Street to Seventh Street is open again, and with it, the CP Rail crossing is accessible once more. The road has been resurfaced, the sidewalks have been rebuilt and the intersection of 13th Avenue and Sixth Street is now mound-free.
July was a difficult month as far as navigating the city was concerned, but now you can turn left onto Kensington Avenue or King Street, without the assistance of a traffic light. The area where Highway 39, Sister Roddy Road and King Street converge is merely troublesome again, whereas in July it was migraine-inducing.
But all of this had to happen, because 13th Avenue needed to be resurfaced. It wasn't the shabbiest road in the city, but after last year's rebuild of 13th and Souris Avenue North, the small resurfacing project made sense.
And the intersection of 13th and Sixth needed to be rebuilt. If the ruts were any deeper, they could have served as beginner jumps for local skateboarders.
These traffic issues were a necessary short-term pain for a long-term gain. Remember the detours that were in place last year during the 13th Avenue and Souris North facelift? They were worthwhile, because the project was needed.
This year's project obviously wasn't of the same scope, but that's why it was completed in a month as opposed to three months.
Most motorists seemed to understand the reason for the delays, and they coped with it. Those who took to social media to complain about the detours often came across hypocritical, or as people who don't want to see road repairs.
The biggest source of frustration from driving around Estevan last month was a lack of common sense. Motorists who drove too quickly or too aggressively, and made turns at unsafe times, were a liability.
And when City staffers were painting intersection lines at Fourth and Souris South at 8 a.m. one morning, it only compounded traffic issues in Estevan. (Two-time City council candidate Mohammad Waseem is on to something when he says that certain projects should be tackled at night, when traffic volumes are lower. Works well in Ontario).
But we now have a smooth stretch of road to drive on. Another portion of a downtown road is finished. And we can start to count down the days to next summer, when parts of Sixth Street and Souris Avenue South will be resurfaced. At least railroad crossings will remain open during that project.