I am a resident of the community accessed by the Bergen Road -- a member of the community affected by the Bergen Road mega-project.
When I first caught a whiff of this thing in the air, I contacted my representative and picked his brain about what was apt to descend on us here in this would-be quiet community with regards to this project.
I was told that what was to occur was just a basic upgrade of the road surface on par with the upgrade that recently took place on the hill portion of the road in question just west of the Little Red Deer River bridge.
Nothing major, minimal disturbance, I was assured. When I asked if the road was to be widened, I was told no. When I expressed my concerns over traffic, which was already heavy on the now-barely existing road, I was told there would be no increase in traffic, although come to think of it I'm not sure how anyone would know this in advance.
When I expressed my concerns with speeding -- already an issue on this road -- I was told not to worry.
When I asked why this project was necessary in the first place, I was told it was in order to enhance the operations of the two gravel pits road accesses. Period.
Not that they hadn't been conducting operations already, but just that they had to suffer, apparently, through a brief road ban every year.
With this minor project that wouldn't result in any great upheaval nor a deterioration of the quality of life for residents -- either short- or long-term -- the two gravel operators would no longer have to suffer the minor inconvenience of temporary road bans.
OK, I'll trust you on the sagacity of this, I decided. I mean it’s nice to believe you are in trustworthy hands, I think you will agree. If only briefly.
When the surveyors came and the flagging laths were laid out, I became pretty alarmed observing the setbacks planned for this ‘minor’ project. There were flags away off into a wetland for instance and considerably into the surrounding woods.
And of course there is the community cemetery. Strange, for a road that wasn’t going to be widened, remember. I phoned my representative again and was once again offered all reassurances identical to the previous discussion.
None of which could have prepared anyone for the onslaught that followed. The scale of this thing is mind-boggling given the reality that this is a minor road accessing minor places at the best of times, places becoming more trivial by the day on account of Alberta's new failed state status. The amount of disruption is epic.
From the setback to the truly dangerous driving conditions that have resulted – and who does one call about that? The RCMP? I may give that a go yet on account of unbarricaded, six-foot vertical plunges off the immediate edges of a single narrow traffic lane to the unfathomable workings of those imbecilic traffic lights, this whole thing is dumbfounding.
That’s before we even try to imagine the profligate public money being wasted here in a time of economic contraction unparalleled in the entire history of Alberta, Great Depression not excepted.
So, please tell me, other than the invading army of the engineering firm creating physical mess here, this dangerous nuisance that promises to be an ongoing dangerous nuisance, and the two gravel concerns, who else is to benefit from the result of this madness?
Surely not the people who actually live here, who will doubtless be subject to even worse levels of traffic at even worse velocities, with convoys of travellers already driving the existing road at 110 kilometres an hour (km/h) or more. Now they can look forward to folks doing 130 km/h I guess. Wonderful.
And do tell, just what on earth is going on at the approach to Rge. Rd. 50 - are they putting in a cloverleaf? It sure seems so.
Why on earth do two dead-end gravel spurs warrant a major upgrade of approach? Is it to signal all the meth addicts who will be the renewed scourge of the countryside once the Canadian Emeregncy Response Benefit is discontinued? “Check this road out - here are some places to rob.”
I will be frank with you - enduring the massive, if hopefully temporary, upheaval of this debacle is nothing compared to the cranial pain involved in contemplating the underlying dementia necessarily behind it.
Mountain View County