Construction in Carlsbad: is it worth it?

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Hannah Kellermeyer

The construction frenzy now includes Grand Ave and State street. The construction makes it harder to get into the Village train station and the Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays.

Megan Schoen, Features Editor

It began with the Desalination plant. Cannon Rd., Faraday Ave. and Poinsettia Ave: gone. Next came the street widening project. El Camino Real: out. Enter housing projects, raised street medians, turn lanes and recycled water transmission pipelines, and it seems the entire roadway system in Carlsbad is infested with neon orange cones and flashing caution signs.

The City of Carlsbad website, which describes all the projects in detail, advises drivers to “use alternate routes whenever possible during construction.” That is great advice, of course, until your alternate routes also fall victim to decreased lane sizes and lowered speed limits. For many students, construction has become a part of their daily existence, unavoidable on the already depressing drive to school. Now people must leave earlier just to ensure finding a spot in the labyrinth known as the Carlsbad High School parking lot (but that’s a whole other article).

The true problem with the whole situation is that we can not hate the construction. It can annoy the be-jeebers out of us, but we can’t hate it. It is similar to the grandma driving 40 miles per hour on the freeway. No matter how frustrating she may be, you can’t bring yourself to honk your horn at her. No matter how frustrating the the road blocks and traffic may be, at the end of the day they represent progress and improvement in the city of Carlsbad.

One of the biggest, and longest lasting, construction projects occurring throughout the city right now is the Desalination Plant. The state of California is currently in an official state of emergency due to the widespread drought. The water shortage stretches to 98% of the state, 44% in “exceptional” drought, which is the most severe kind.  With a mandatory 25% water use reduction order in place, cities such as Carlsbad are looking for alternative sources for the essential resource. The Desalination plant, as annoying as it may be right now, will soon be providing 50 million gallons of drinking water a day to the fine citizens of San Diego. Well when you put it that way, it seems the longer commute is a small price to pay for the most important resource on Earth.

The other big, all-consuming construction project that popped up seemingly out of nowhere is the street widening on El Camino Real. One day, we had big roomy lanes on both sides of the street. The next, cones swerving on both sides of the street with bumps typically associated with wooden roller coasters. The reason? Lane expansions on both sides of the road. In the 1700’s this street was created by Spanish missionaries, connecting all of the missions throughout California. Now, our little stretch of the historic passageway is one of the busiest and most used in Carlsbad. Yes, it causes more traffic and headache now, but in the near future it will mean more lanes and less volume of cars.

It is unfortunate all of these construction projects are occurring at the same time. Had they been interspersed over a course of many years, they wouldn’t be nearly as trying to our souls. It’s important to remember this is all being done in the name of progress, but it seems as if  everywhere you go those orange cones are waiting for you.