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RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

The Effects of Construction and Closures


Alfredo Liggins IV
The University of Texas at El Paso
RWS 1301

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

Abstract
One of the most common products created in the process of construction sites
and road closures is traffic congestion. It is evident to many that traffic congestion is
both an environmental and personal health hazard. Vast majorities of people have
experienced a traffic jam or closure of one kind or another and know how strenuous it
can be to be involved in. Giving drivers a better understanding of what congests traffic
and how to reduce it could greatly decrease its size and possibly allow movement in a
continuous manner. It has become costly to drive vehicles cluttered on the freeway in
time and gas overhead. Citizens on the road are more likely to be late to work, as well
as students to their class, with the amount of cars overcrowding the road. While there
are construction projects being carried out with idea to relieve traffic, it is only
contributing to the problem. The stress and anxiety that people feel can influence their
decisions and make bad choices when driving such as switching lanes hastily and either
getting caught in traffic again or causing an accident to make more of a mess, making it
harder for policemen or ambulances to reach the tragedy in time.

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

Introduction
For the past few years, the city of El Paso, Texas has undergone various
construction projects, the latest of which are meant to broaden passage on the freeway
and create extensions to stretch across the city. While these projects were intended to
help smooth the flow of traffic, their closure of roads and lane reductions have proven to
be counter-productive. What can always be expected to form on the freeway is traffic
congestion, and it only gets worse when construction is in progress. Everyone has
somewhere to go whether they are a citizen driving to work, a student commuting to the
university, or even construction workers themselves transporting tools and supplies.
Even though construction workers do their best to make transit past their sites easy, the
average amount of vehicles that travel will remain the same, but the path is made
narrower. Fluid passage does not mean that drivers will move fluidly as well.
El Paso Construction Projects
It was announced in February of last year that two major construction projects,
Border Expressway West and Interstate 10 Collector-Distributor Lane Project, would
make headway over a course of three years. El Paso drivers would have to prepare for
traffic tie-ups, closures and detours, and how much time is taken to commute from one
place to another. Over the past 12 months, roads running up and down Paisano Drive
were reduced to one lane going in both directions. This piece of Loop 375 between
Racetrack Drive and Executive Center Boulevard, as Lorena (2015) explains, will go
around the city from West to East El Paso and connect to the Northeast by U.S.
Highway 54. The second project, newly dubbed Go 10, is an expansion that will
connect five plus miles of lanes onto Interstate 10, a project that could operate all the

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

way through 2019, given the time schedules for each section. Both projects were
started at the same time, by two different offices, which could close one or all at the
same time if necessary. The traffic congestion that these closures have created have
become so appalling that it has taken drivers as much as 30 minutes before being able
to proceed from the jam. Lorena asked residents about there thoughts of the huge
plans, one of which Veronica Chavez had commented, Its terrible. I feel like I am at
one of the international bridges lanes coming from Juarez. While citizens are asked to
slow down and mind the signs, they are not to pleased at having to take longer to reach
their destinations and back.
Pope Francis Visit: A Neighborhood Closure
It was big news when the announcement of the Pope would arrive to Juarez,
Mexico mid-February to give a message of support to the immigrants looking for
opportunity in the United States. This was a joyous occasion for many El Paso citizens,
much to the dislike however of a small residential area in South El Paso. It was declared
in late-January that a set up of road closures would encase a local area, comprised of
dozens of businesses and hundreds of homes, with only one entrance and one exit.
Najera (2016) reported that with the closing down of the neighborhood, there will be
no traffic into or out with the exception of the residents who live there as stated by
El Paso police Assistant Chief Patrick Maloney. The weekday routine of the locals
consisted of children playing in the nearby park after school, and some making their
daily walks. Could one day make a really big change to these citizens lives? For one
citizen, Jerry Valles, an employee at La Fe Clinic, questioned if patients would be
allowed to attend their appointments or would they have to close down for the day.

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

Youre going to see an awful lot of police officers in your neighborhood, Maloney
retorted as a safety measure for the Popes crossing of the border, and will work
with the clinicso people can see their doctors if needed. A day of no work would not
hurt a job, but it would be difficult to reschedule and push appointment dates for a
number of patients if any had been planned. Not to mention that the children must have
been thrilled to miss a day of school, although that hurts their education.
Traffic: Its Source and Repercussions
Traffic congestion is to be expected when construction workers are operating on
the road. Since workers give drivers a notice in advance where and when they plan to
work or if a lane or two is closed up ahead, does that not mean that drivers should know
how to proceed in order to keep traffic moving? The fact of the matter is that they do
know how to proceed, but the issue arises from serious overcrowding. It was observed
in 2014 that rush hour in Texas has increased over 60 minutes of the time expectancy,
and travel times are becoming increasingly unpredictable (Perryman, 2014) that it is
harming the economy. Perryman also reports traffic congestion on Texas roadways
costs more than $10 billion per year in total delay and fuel expenses. There are so
many wasted hours due to that delay that could have been spent enjoying or
accomplishing certain activities. It still will not help when construction is finished and the
new lanes are open. It will continue to be congested as additional drivers decide to
move into the new space (Miller, 2015), all of which will end with time consumption,
higher stress levels, and air pollution. Indeed, higher levels of pollution form during
congestion than when cars are flowing smoothly. It seems more likely for more fuel is
burned the faster you go, but in more accurately, more fuel is burned when you

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

accelerate to pick up speed such as the moment a car stops behind another and moves
forward once the car in front moves up.
Ways to Reduce Traffic and Stress
Ultimately traffic congestion forms when there are too many vehicles on the road.
Seeing that there is unpredictability in travel times, one must allow for extra time on the
road for assurance of a punctual arrival. That is to say that if it would take 20 minutes
without traffic, more than 80 minutes should be allowed for driving just in case traffic is
bad. (Perryman, 2014) Other ideas to reduce traffic include carpooling with fellow
students or employees, proper use of technology such as turning signals, and creating
alternate routes. If there is an accident on the
road, then there is no getting around it. One
would have no other choice but to wait for
traffic to move past it until there is more
space. In the mean time, there is no need
impair your own health and happiness.
Psychology Today provides tips to help keep
you centered in the mix-up, such as when you
find yourself clutching the steering wheel
tightly, take some deep breaths as well as when someone cuts you off, stop
yourself from fuming over the other drivers behavior, so a split-second irritation doesnt
turn into full-blown road rage.(Andrews, 2015) Aside from stress, air pollution is being
tackled with its own measures. Toxic emissions have been greatly reduced by improving
car engine designs and research on better fuel chemistry. It is only really challenging

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

that our current technology is far from perfect and may just shift the pollution to a
separate place in the energy chain. (Sanders, 2012) We are still learning, and so there
will be new strategies for pollution alleviation to come.
Conclusion
An issue or outside circumstance will always find a way to rise up and put a call
for construction work and road closures. Whether the citys population will continue to
grow, some celebrity/celebrities will cross or visit El Paso from time to time, or be it a
new complex or structure project, you can expect an increase in traffic. It cant be
helped much, nor can we force drivers to not be stressed out, only that we make them
aware of the problems that traffic and stress can induce and hope that they learn how to
deal with them properly. Even if it is a small step, as long as it is a step in the right
direction.

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

References
Andrews, L. W. (2015, September 2). How to Stress Less in a Traffic Jam: Stay Calm
and Centered in the Midst of Bumper-to-Bumper Chaos. Psychology Today.
Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-thebody/201509/how-stress-less-in-traffic-jam
Figueroa, L. (2015, November 6). Two major projects causing delays on West Side. El
Paso Times. Retrieved from
http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2015/11/05/west-side-expresswaycauses-delays-traffic/75246492/
Miller, S. (2015, July 7). Traffic Congestion: Why Its Increasing and How to Reduce It.
Livable Streets: Rethinking Urban Transportation.
http://www.livablestreets.info/traffic_congestion_why_its_increasing_and_how_to
_reduce_it
Najera, J. (2016, January 27). South El Paso closures concern residents: Popes visit
will change daily routines. KVIA, ABC-7 News. Retrieved from
http://www.kvia.com/news/south-el-paso-closures-concern-residents/37679918
Perryman, M. R. (2014, May 30). Texas Traffic Congestion. The Perryman Group: An
Economic and Financial Analysis Firm. Retrieved from March 14, 2016, from
https://www.perrymangroup.com/2014/05/30/texas-traffic-congestion/
Sanders, P. (2012, January 5). How Traffic Jams Affect Air Quality. Environmental
Leader: Environmental and Energy Management News. Retrieved from

RUNNING HEAD: THE EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/01/05/how-traffic-jams-affect-airquality/