UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 15, 2024

Construction inconveniences and confuses community

Share This:

Nothing is more inconvenient than construction, and it seems to be everywhere we look.

   Construction is always happening in St. George, whether it’s on roads, buildings or sidewalks. Some construction projects can be simple, like fixing a large crack in a sidewalk, while others are long, drawn out and invasive. My street has been closed down for nearly two weeks now, and it has made coming to and leaving my apartment very difficult and awkward. I also hear the loud noises of the construction equipment early in the morning when I’m trying to sleep. 

   Nothing is more annoying than when a road is closed for construction, and I hardly see any construction workers pursuing the project. This can be especially bothersome when I am in a hurry to get somewhere, and, all of a sudden, there’s a construction project going on that causes blocks of heavy traffic.

   Unexpected construction projects frequently appear all over the city for unknown or baffling reasons. Recently, one of the two lanes headed southwest on Telegraph Street was shut down because construction workers were placing a massive stone pillar off to the side of the street. At the time, no one knew what the structure was supposed to be, which made it even more infuriating that the street was down to one lane.

   After a few weeks of the construction-related traffic, the true purpose of the mysterious pillar was revealed. The pillar was engraved with the words “Welcome to St. George.” It’s upsetting that it took multiple weeks of construction to put up this ugly, awkwardly-placed pillar off to the side of the road, welcoming those coming south of our city.

   If the people in St. George really wanted to welcome visitors, they wouldn’t put a huge pillar off to the side of a street that is not visible to those actually coming into the city. It would have made more sense to place a new “Welcome to St. George” artwork on an already existing billboard on the freeway that people coming into the city could see. This pillar is a useless structure, and it doesn’t contribute anything positive to the community. 

   Another project that could cause problems is the Mall Drive Bridge. The St. George City Council recently approved the construction of the Mall Drive Bridge project and began Feb. 4. The bridge will go over the Virgin River to connect Washington Fields to Mall Drive. The project has been developing over the past few years but hit major setbacks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the potential invasion of the habitat of three endangered species.

   The floodplains near the Virgin River are a home to two endangered species of fish: the Virgin River Chub and Woundfin fish. These two particular types of fish are rare and can only be found in the Virgin River. According to The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the biggest threats to these species are habitat changes and toxic spills, which could easily be caused by construction of the Mall Drive Bridge.

   Construction workers said they will be cautious of the situation while doing the project, but is that really enough? Construction in any capacity is messy, but this is a huge project that has the potential to wipe out an entire species of animals. The elimination of species only present in the Virgin River is a big deal, and I don’t think it’s being taken seriously enough.

   Human convenience isn’t more important than these endangered species of animals. If we have lived this long without a Mall Drive Bridge, we would be able to survive without it. Sure, without the bridge some people may have a longer commute, but that is better than destroying an entire species of animal for their convenience.

   Knowing how St. George construction projects go, I assume the project will still take place regardless of the endangered species it would harm. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made an agreement with the people at the construction company that construction work around the Virgin River will be finished by April 15, which will hopefully prevent the harm of these animals. I can only hope that the construction company does everything it can to comply with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but only time will tell.

   Construction projects are often announced in city council meetings. If community members would attend and voice their opinions about construction projects, maybe some of them wouldn’t be taking place. Community participation in city council meetings is crucial in determining what construction projects should or should not be done and what is important to community members.

   If you want to voice your opinion, city council meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of every month at 5 p.m. in the city offices located at 175 E. 200 North in the City Council Chambers. For more information, visit their website at sgcity.org/citycouncil.