Campus, News

Construction at West Campus Drive continuing through Nov. 21

Students will have to wait longer than anticipated to be able to pass through West Campus Drive without the obstruction of blue tarps and fences.

Construction at the turnaround by Brotman Hall and the University Student Union has been extended from its original deadline of Nov. 7 to Nov. 21.

The construction began in July and was slated to end earlier this month. However, according to Taylor Gibbons, the project manager overseeing construction, unforeseen circumstances such as chilled water lines and underground sewers extended the project.

“Our contractors have done a really good job of rolling with the punches,” Gibbons said. “All the correct documentation [on the original construction] isn’t always available. It’s understood that [contractors are] going to have to make adjustments in the field and correction in order to accommodate existing conditions.”

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er
A clump of road closed signs block the right lane of West Campus Drive 11/14.

The project began in an effort to upgrade the storm drainage system, which primarily consists of several channels of concrete and plastic piping that were installed as early as the 1940s.

Deficiencies in the drainage system allowed for occasional flooding along Atherton Street and Palo Verde Avenue and were a cause for concern due to the heavy forecasts for El Niño last year. The upgrades, documented in the campus’ 2008 Final Environmental Impact Report, focus on replacing and upsizing the lines.

Other improvements, including traps and sieves to catch debris and minimize pollutants that enter the storm drainage system, are also expected to be added during construction.

While upgrades to the storm drainage systems are necessary, third year civil engineering major Alondra Armenta can’t help but feel frustrated at the closure.

“I wish [the contractors] would have finished already because the semester’s almost over,” said Armenta, who has a class by Brotman Hall. “If [construction] wouldn’t have happened, it would have been easier to get to my class in the morning.”

Marcella Garcia, third year English literature major, adds that she parks by the School of Nursing building and that construction has made it harder for her to get to class.

“It’s harder to get around that construction,” Garcia said. “I have to go around like where the blue fences are, so that takes longer than it would without the construction. It’s inconvenient. I mean I understand that unexpected things could happen, but I’m not mad about it. It’s just, we’re going to have to keep dealing with it.”

Gibbons assures students, however, that the roadway will be open on Nov. 21 and that traffic will resume as it had before. However, construction will continue in the plaza area between the USU walkway and the street into December.

Cheantay Jensen contributed to this story.

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