Drivers see orange
Traffic crews are busy keeping traffic moving while business owners are busy trying to keeping traffic coming as construction continued this week on Bonanza Drive.
Flagger and sign worker Ralph Hilton explained the job of the traffic crew as one of the most crucial parts of the construction process.
"Flaggers are like the public relations department of a worksite," Hilton explained. "We’re the first you people you see and we make an impression."
The direction and flow of traffic is an important part of keeping workers and drivers safe, and that is what Hilton said he tries to focus on when days drag on.
"We’ve got to make the public happy, but we also have to keep the workers safe," Hilton said. "It’s a certain kind of balance."
The job does come with its dangers and flagger Darlene Adams is well aware of the risk and responsibility that comes with the job.
"Yeah, I’ve almost been run over a few times," Adams said. "I’ve been called names and flipped off but for the most part people are nice and understand."
While the intersection at Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive is under construction, Adams works as part of team responsible for keeping traffic flowing. Though traffic was backed up at the beginning of the week, it’s been more efficient over the last few days said Jerry Frank, owner of No Place Like Home on Bonanza Dr.
"It’s affected people the last couple of days, but people are still coming down and supporting us," Frank said.
This weekend No Place Like Home and neighbor Whimsy are having a sidewalk sale weekend and Frank said he thinks people will still come out to buy local products.
He credits the improved traffic flow to better traffic direction, which is something Adams said has been a focus for their crew.
"Flagging is a lot of responsibility, you don’t have time to not be aware," Adams said. "We’re kind of responsible for a lot."
However, backed up traffic has been good for some business. On Kearns Blvd., Hair Solutions Receptionist Ruth Olson said the backed up traffic has provided good visibility for their business.
"In a way it’s kind of good for the traffic to be backed up like this," said Olson. "We’re thinking they start to notice us here in the corner."
Fairweather Natural Foods has also felt the crunch as lunch crowds dwindle. Owner Jen Rattray said things haven’t been as bad as they could be, especially since traffic crews keep cars moving in two directions.
Fairweather is also working on coupons, discounts and other methods to attract new customers.
"We’ll get as creative as we need to," Rattray joked.
Just off Bonanza and south of the construction is the Windy Ridge Bakery, where Executive Pastry Chef Stephanie Krizman said walk-in business has been noticeably slower this week.
"People are definitely affected," she said. "Quick pit stops are to a minimum."
But the traffic snarl won’t last much longer. According to underground construction former Jeda Elton, construction on the intersection of Bonanza Dr. and Kearns Blvd. will be complete by the end of next week.
Construction crews have the holiday weekend off, but next week will repave and reopen all four lanes of the intersection and move construction toward the intersection of Prospector Avenue and Bonanza Dr.
For now, Hilton continues to shuffle cars through construction zones.
"People in cars are like sheep," Hilton said. "If one car goes down one way, all the other cars will follow until we tell them to stop."
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