Bridge detour leads to confusion, frustration as some drivers choose not to follow rules

Danny Merrill who lives in the condo to the right stands by the detour sign for the construction of the bridge on Monument Road. ,Police are threatening to ticket people for ignoring the signs and taking a shortcut.

From Danny Merrill’s balcony at 396 Monument Road, he could probably throw a baseball over the construction on the Monument Road Bridge.

To retrieve that baseball, he’d have to get in his car and drive more than seven miles around the city’s preferred construction detour.

On Jan. 5 the Redlands area bridge closed to be demolished and replaced. Signs and orange cones were placed along a designated detour route.

During the past week, officers have stopped several hundred drivers who ignored the posted signs in the area and tried to take shortcuts, said Kate Porras, spokeswoman for the Grand Junction Police Department.

So far, officers have given out warnings and informative fliers, but people have been advised that receiving a ticket for disregarding traffic signs has a maximum penalty of $221 and up to four points against their driver’s license. People have been ticketed for speeding, however.

“Our goal with this project is to not have to give out a lot of tickets,” Porras said. “That certainly doesn’t mean we won’t be giving out tickets, but we plan to continue educating people ... speeding through the area is not safe for them or for the people living in the neighborhoods they are cutting through.”

The city has heard complaints from both the people upset about the 20-minute-long detour and the people who live along South Broadway Road, which has become a popular shortcut, said Kristin Winn, spokeswoman for the Grand Junction Public Works and Planning Department.

The particular detour route, from Broadway to Redlands Parkway to South Camp Road, was chosen because the roads can withstand higher levels of traffic, Winn said.

Merrill said he is not mad about the detour, just frustrated. He said he thinks the posted signs are confusing.

On weekdays, he said, the intersection at Monument and South Broadway roads that his condo overlooks is “a zoo.”

He regularly watches vehicles buzz past the “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs.

“See, that means nothing,” he said Saturday morning, pointing at a silver car that completely ignored the sign on Monument Road.

“Everybody’s inconvenienced,” Merrill said, adding that on more than one morning he’s seen residents on South Broadway outside their homes and visibly angry about the traffic.

Merrill said he is looking forward to the new, wider bridge that is scheduled for completion by the end of April. It’ll make his daily walk to the Western Convenience gas station for coffee and a newspaper safer.


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