As the snowbirds return the valley for the season, that means a lot more traffic on surface streets and main thoroughfares like Highway 111.
But one specific area really getting jammed up, is East Palm Canyon Drive through Cathedral City, currently undergoing construction causing quite a bit of a traffic back up.
“Nobody likes it, all of our friends say ‘Don’t go that way, because it’s terrible,” said Cathedral City resident Cathy Peterson.
Since construction began in October between Canyon Plaza and Perez Road, she says she’s tried to avoid the stretch of road, but sometimes it’s impossible.
“It’s the main fairway for a lot of different places that you go,” Peterson said.
On Tuesday, while trying to get to a consignment store on East Palm Canyon, she says frustration settled when there was no easy way to get there.
“I just got out on the other side of the street and walked over rather than try and drive over,” she said.
Crews are continuing to work on widening the road, leaving only one lane open in each direction to traffic. Most of the day, drivers say there’s a backup.
“Yeah, it’s a definite headache,” Peterson said.
The construction in the area, however, isn’t just affecting traffic in the area.
“It totally disrupted the businesses along this corridor,” said Caroldean Ross, Owner of Therapy Resale along East Palm Canyon Drive.
She says her consignment store is taking a major financial hit because of the road work.
“Oh my gosh, we’re 60% off from our figures from last year and it’s just the fact that you can’t absolutely can’t get here,” Ross said.
However, there is relief on the way for businesses and and drivers alike.
A spokesman with Cathedral City says the construction will be completed this Friday, a week ahead of schedule.
Good news for Ross, but she’s still frustrated with the city’s timing.
“You know with so little traffic going down 111 in the summer, it wouldn’t have affected anybody,” Ross said.
She also wondered why the city couldn’t do the work later in the evening, so to not affect businesses in the area.
In an email, a city spokesman responded saying,”The construction process, whether day or night, would still have only 1 lane in each direction available during the day due to the available area to perform the roadwork. It wouldn’t have sped up the traffic during the construction zone. The process allowed the construction to work one-side and traffic flow on the other, then switch sides. At night, you also have temperature sensitivities that you have to be cognizant of when pouring concrete.”
Not too far ahead, if you’re driving towards Rancho Mirage, more road construction, although not as bad. Crews there are working on adding left turns on Highway 111 and Frank Sinatra to relieve congestion during the high traffic season.
City Engineer Bill Enos says paving of the road is expected to be done by Friday, with the entire project, which started in July, completed on December 5.