Construction on the Regina Bypass is not only a pain for drivers – it’s also causing problems for some businesses along Highway 1 between Regina and Balgonie.
Kevin Rossler is the sales manager at Markusson New Holland located in Emerald Park and he says the single-lane traffic is a hassle.
“It’s really caused a back-log in our trucking department,” he explained. “We move a lot of wide loads and large farm equipment and we’re just very far behind because of it. We can’t haul any wide loads down the number 1 highway either way out of the dealership anymore.”
Rossler said they’re resorting to using one gravel road to haul equipment out of the dealership, and it can take them miles out of the way to bypass the bypass project.
He also notes that they can’t move anything after heavy rains due to the concern over damaging the grid roads.
Rossler said the customers all talk about coming through slow-moving traffic from the east. But the primary concern for the business is the trucking issue.
For Rossler, putting up with the annoyance of construction season is just a reality you have to deal with until the project is complete.
“We’ll all look back and think ah it’s pretty good, we won’t remember how bad it was this year. It’s short-term pain for long-term gain I hope,” Rossler commented.
Randy Johnson owns Boomer’s Air Park in Emerald Park, and he has noticed some impacts as well.
“In the last month or so since it’s really ramped up, we’ve seen about a 25 per cent reduction in sales,” he said.
Johnson lives out in Emerald Park but travels back and forth from Regina using the same corridor.
Both Johnson and Rossler noted that the temporary traffic lights installed at the intersection have been a big benefit for normal drivers accessing the communities from the highway.
“The installation of the traffic lights, I imagine that it’s an inconvenience to all of the semis that are coming in from the east on the number one, but for all of us that are going in and out of Emerald Park (or) White City, those traffic lights are a blessing,” Johnson said.
He’s happy to see more people observing the lower 80 kilometre per hour speed limit, noting that it used to be a ‘road race’ out there.
“It’s actually not that bad in my mind, but I think a lot of people are saying ‘well I just want to avoid that area’ because they perceive that it may get a little bit tangled,” he said.
The construction season is not all bad news for businesses. The Diner restaurant in the heart of the construction zone just off Highway 1 in Balgonie is actually seeing a boost in sales. One of the people working there told News Talk Radio they even introduced a buffet to feed all the construction workers.