Cities Use Shutdowns to Their Advantage

Cities Use Shutdowns to Their Advantage

(ReliableNews.org) – It’s hard to imagine anyone NOT being annoyed by delays and closures due to construction projects. Maybe if you’re really into your audiobook, podcast, or music you might not care as much about slowing down or merging lanes more often. In most cases, people want to get from point A to point B as soon as possible. Unfortunately, construction projects can take years to complete; traffic delays and sidewalk closures become just another part of the daily grind.

With COVID-19 hitting the nation and many people staying indoors, streets and highways are emptier than usual. That’s an ideal time for cities to double down on completing construction projects. It’s one of the opportunities created by the coronavirus and some metropolitan areas are taking advantage of this economic downtime.

Construction Projects Speedtracked

Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles is, usually, a nightmare to drive through. It’s not uncommon for foot traffic to be faster than the 16,000 vehicles traversing the road every day. Under normal circumstances, closing the road would be next to impossible, but not in a COVID-19 America. The half-mile section of road was resurfaced in just two days. That would have normally taken at least twice as long.

A 70-year-old bridge in California’s Bay Area that around 250,000 cars pass over per day was replaced in half of the original time. In Florida, highway projects are expected to be completed about three months earlier than original estimates. An entire runway will be repaved at the New York Westchester County Airport in a single month instead of four.

Not All States Are Acting

The small explosion in construction activity is keeping paychecks flowing to Americans so they can provide for their families. However, not all states are seizing the moment. Some have shut down projects with the coronavirus out and about. Others are merely attempting to meet the original timeline of said construction projects.

President Donald Trump and Congress were considering turning the next major stimulus bill into an infrastructure bill, though that’s been sidelined for now. As important as infrastructure is, there are much more demanding priorities to be met in the short term. Until those needs are met, some states are considering construction to be “non-essential” in their efforts to balance budgets.

Much-needed infrastructure projects can be completed with little to no negative ramifications and in a shorter time frame. These are the kinds of golden opportunities that states can act upon with empty streets. It won’t last forever, so decisive action is needed if the country is to more effectively prepare for full-fledged economic reopenings.

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