Chardon Construction: Does the Destruction Ever End?


Ian Quinn

Construction on Chardon Avenue halts all on-coming traffic

Ian Quinn, Staff Writer

About 3 weeks before the end of the last school year, a major construction project was announced for Chardon Avenue and the surrounding area. The plans were ambitious, but residents of Chardon and students of the high school either had positive opinions about it or simply just didn’t care. 

Fast forward some 4 months later, 3 weeks into the 2021-2022 school year, and people are noticing that the project is having more of an effect on their ability to be at school on time than anticipated. 

As of now, no major reactions have spawned from the project; nothing to make the unassuming onlooker think twice of the situation. 

That doesn’t mean the construction hasn’t been a contentious topic for students and teachers alike within the school. Every once in a while, I hear peoples’ sob stories of how they didn’t make it on time that day, have to change there or even adjust the time they wake up, and all because of “whatever they’re doing on that road”. 

These concerns were on my mind as I approached Vice-Principal Higham, in an effort to see his perspective and what information he has on the subject. 

In discussing the situation, I inquired about whether or not he had gotten complaints from students or parents about the closing of the street. He responded, “I have not heard any complaints about the Chardon avenue project.” He added “Though there haven’t been any complaints, sometimes you don’t always hear all the information. I think everyone realizes that it was work that needed to be done, and why it’s getting done.”

When questioned about whether he thought the construction has affected the students’ ability to be at school on time, he said he did think there was an impact on traffic flow. 

However, he did follow up with “I think it’s been enough time for everyone to figure out alternative routes and methods to get to school, and I don’t think it has dramatically impacted the transportation process.” When the current school year began, the construction had proceeded for the entire summer before it. A time frame of around 3 months should be enough time for a person to figure an alternate route out. 

Another topic brought up in conversation was the amount of influence Mr. Higham has had in the progression of this project. When asked about it, he denied having much of an involvement in the process. “I am not an expert in what they’re doing; I’m not trained in that, so I’m trusting they have a plan and they’re executing it the best they can.”

From an educational standpoint, it seems the construction has not hindered the students’ ability to utilize their time at school. This doesn’t tell the whole story though. Moreover, it doesn’t account for the challenges students who live on the street face. 

That is where Steven Sanker comes in. Sanker, a senior in the high school, has been living on Chardon Avenue ever since January 2021 and has witnessed the entire project from its inception to where it is now. According to him, their goal was to change the piping underneath the road. To do that, they had to tear up the street, and now they are rebuilding it.

“Bulldozers are currently plowing the street. These bulldozers recently removed the main hazard, which was unevenness. Before there were gravel patches and there were cement patches. The cement patches would also be full of gravel, but it’s still literally like riding on a pump track.” 

One would infer that under these conditions, it’s difficult to get around, and from Steven’s accounts, that wouldn’t be too wrong. He alluded to high school junior Landry Livingood’s car being ruined by the sharp edges on the driveable parts. He also mentioned how the sidewalks aren’t usable because of the sloppy placement of construction equipment and how the road is too rough to even ride a bike on. Steven added, “Most people resorted to walking.”

How has public opinion changed over the time span of the project? 

Walking through the halls, you’ll often see talk of the construction on the lips of the school body. From the immobility of residents on the street to the damage it has caused to multiple vehicles, and even the mild inconvenience in the form of a lost route to school, it has every right to be. However, nobody seems to have made a major point of it, nor has any student seemed to inquire too much into the situation either. Students know that life goes on, and in simple terms, they really couldn’t care less.

At the time of publishing this article, the first layer of asphalt has been laid on the road. Only from North Street to Memorial Drive has been paved, and there are still more layers to be put down.