My wife always gets a little melancholy when the end of June comes because it signals the beginning of the end of summer.
This year, I’m feeling a little sad too, because the road construction on Tooele’s Main Street is coming to an end.
Yes, you read that correctly, I said I’m sad the construction is ending.
A little more than a year ago I wrote a column about how the summer time is a bit of a slow season for the Transcript Bulletin’s sports desk, since our primary coverage focus is monopolized by prep sporting events. In lieu of anything terribly noteworthy 13-ish months ago and inspired by sarcastic conversations with my colleagues in the newsroom, I wrote a piece introducing the construction game, in which motorists would be awarded a number of points based on bone-headed driving actions as they moved through the obstacle course we call State Road 36.
Little did I know at the time how many points we would go on to award as reports buzzed over the police scanner of a vehicle stuck in a newly dug trench, a vehicle breaking an axle crossing over a yet-to-be-completed curb block, or even a vehicle running into a cement mixing truck.
I never meant for any of these to happen, and I feel for anyone who had to shell out the cash for major repairs to their vehicle from damage the obstacle course caused. And I certainly didn’t expect to hear stories of residents stealing construction crew property and hanging the spoils above a fireplace like the head of some trophy buck after the hunt of a lifetime.
OK, OK. I don’t think that one ever happened.
But as I drove through town the other day, I noticed several of the smaller orange construction markers downed and crumpled, as if some overly eager construction game contestant was in a bind to scrape together a dozen more points before the final tally at the project’s end.
I couldn’t help but smirk, wondering if the long-escaped barrel-mower and I shared a joke only a few were privy to.
As the SR-36 Renewed project wraps up, it will bring finished landscaping and new trees to the most-frequented road in town. It will bring an end to urban historical searches with metal detectors, construction headaches and the orange-barrel eyesore. It will bring the 451 and 453 routes of the Utah Transit Authority back to within a stone’s throw of a walk for my wife’s commute.
And sadly, it will be the end of inside jokes between frustrated motorists.
Tavin Stucki is a life-long Utah resident who is veteran to more than a few construction wars. Send your best and worst construction stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.