An ongoing construction project has continued to block lanes on Montezuma Road between Collwood Boulevard and College Avenue, as well as cause headaches for some San Diego State students who commute to campus.
“My 20-minute commute is now a 30, 40 or even 45-minute commute because of the backup of traffic,” media studies senior Katelyn Garcia said. “It just backs up the whole way down.”
The Montezuma Road project, officially known as “Water Group Job 923,” was unanimously approved by the San Diego City Council last July.
According to SDSU’s Media Relations Specialist Gina Jacobs, SDSU was not consulted about the project prior to its approval. The school’s consent was not required because the streets being worked on are property of the City of San Diego.
The project is being managed by the City of San Diego’s Engineering & Capital Projects Department. According to the department’s official project fact sheet, the goal is to replace aging and deteriorated cast-iron water mains installed in the early 1950s or earlier, as mandated by the California Department of Public Health.
San Diego’s website lists multiple benefits of the construction, including increased water capacity, decreased possibility of disrupted service because of main breaks and installation of new curb ramps where necessary.
The project has partially closed lanes on Montezuma Road between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and blocked off most street parking. Garcia said this has made her late for class on more than one occasion.
“I’m late pretty much three days of the week, and I’m here five days a week,” Garcia said.
The project has affected students who live near campus as well. Students who live on Montezuma Road have reported temporary power losses and loud construction noises, sometimes as early as 7:40 a.m.
“As with any construction project, there will always be some inconveniences,” ECPD Senior Public Information Officer Racquel Vasquez wrote in an email. “However, the newly installed pipeline system will increase water reliability to the entire community.”
According to Vasquez, students should incorporate extra time into their daily commutes or use alternative means of transportation, such as carpooling and mass transit.
The project’s fact sheet stated it was originally estimated to start in April. However, the project commenced March 3 because of a City of San Diego-issued notice to proceed, approximately a month ahead of schedule.
According to Vasquez, the contractor is currently ahead of schedule and should finish before the early June deadline.
Garcia said she wishes they had started in June instead.
“I don’t understand why they couldn’t have pushed it to summer, when not as many people are coming to campus,” Garcia said. “I’m sure it has a great purpose, but it’s kind of annoying to a driver who wants to get to school.”