Simcoe Street construction causes traffic trouble

Construction workers and equipment just south of the Conlin Rd. and Simcoe St. intersection. Photograph by Dan Koehler

Road construction continues to bring a traffic headache around DC and UOIT.

But drivers with road rage should get relief by the end of the month.

The completion date for the Simcoe Street North construction taking place in front of Durham College and UOIT has been pushed back until the end of October, according to the Region of Durham works department.

The region says the delay comes after unforeseen gas mains forced a redesign of the project.

The construction, which focuses on improving traffic flow, has caused lane reductions on Simcoe Street North near Conlin Road and part of the intersection to be shut down.  The result has been delays for students and faculty during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Even Durham College president Don Lovisa is feeling the effects of construction.

“I live five minutes from here, but it took me 20 minutes to get home the other night which typically takes me less than five minutes,” Lovisa said.

This is the fourth straight year there has been construction near the campus and Lovisa has noticed an increase in frustration.  He has advocated to the Region of Durham for different construction times and accelerated work.

“No one is working on Saturdays and Sundays or evenings, and in my view they should be,” said Lovisa.

The construction has become such an inconvenience that Lovisa has been forced to meet with community leaders at the Whitby campus who refuse to travel to the Oshawa location.

He has pitched ideas to the region about how to reduce traffic congestion but to no avail.

“There’s nothing we can do right now except advocate for change.”

Patrick Stephens, a Durham College student in the project management program, has also felt the impact of the construction.

“It can be really inconvenient sometimes, especially when I’m going straight to class from work during rush hour,” he said.

He understands that work needs to be done but wonders why more of it wasn’t done before the start of the school year.

“Those few extra minutes can be the difference between making it on time or not.”

Simcoe Street residents are familiar with construction.  Jerzy Wegrzyn has lived on Simcoe Street right across from the school since 1988.  He has seen construction in the past but never this big.  He isn’t happy with the construction but understands it’s necessary and delays can occur.

“Construction is always a pain,” he said.

The project is costing the region around $2-3 million dollars and is being completed by The Miller Group.

Alternative routes suggested by the region for motorists coming from north of the campus are:

  • turn right onto Winchester Road, go south on Thornton Road to Conlin Road, then continue east to Simcoe Street
  • turn left onto Winchester Road, go south on Ritson Road to Conlin Road, then continue west to Simcoe Street
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Dan is a second-year journalism student at Durham College, who enjoys writing about music, the environment, politics, and opinion pieces. He also hosts a show on Riot Radio and works as a volunteer technician. Dan loves spending time at his cottage and has a wide array of unusual pets, including reptiles and arachnids. In the future he hopes to work for a radio station while doing freelance photography.