It's pretty much summertime in the Ohio Valley, and that always means road projects.
We've had quite a few in our area in recent weeks, whether it be to temporary lanes in Follansbee to assist with truck traffic, the renewal of the construction of the new Colliers Way Bridge or the water line and sidewalk projects on Pennsylvania Avenue in Weirton.
Then, of course, there is the major renovation work on U.S. 22 near the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
There have been many comments about this particular project, mostly negative from what I've heard or read.
Honestly, it's not something I've necessarily enjoyed dealing with, either. The early stages weren't exactly communicated well - no one around here understands what Ramps A, B, C, etc. mean - but that has improved as the project has been moving forward.
The lanes can be a little too narrow in places for my own taste, but the key is to simply be more careful than usual - or try to find a detour if possible.
I don't enjoy driving through it early in the morning on my way to work, and dealing with the traffic can be difficult in the afternoons and evenings.
One time, there was even a piece of metal across the one open lane. I'm lucky my tires seem to have made it through OK. There was simply no way to avoid it.
But, I know it's all only temporary and then the roads will be better than they have been in years.
From what state Highways officials have said, much of where this work is concentrated hasn't had any major upkeep since before the Veterans Memorial Bridge opened. That's been more than two decades. So, for me, if a few weeks of inconvenience means making sure these roads are usable for the long term, I'm willing to deal with it.
We often hear how the government doesn't have the funding for many new road projects, let alone to maintain what we already have.
So, it appears we actually are fortunate to be able to have this work being done at all.
Add to that the new bridge at Colliers Way, a road project near Chester and a few other bits of upkeep here and there through our area, and the continuing discussion of a new bridge crossing on the Ohio River, and we seem to be on the more fortunate side of the coin.
Have these projects been planned out the best way possible? Some would say the work could have been done to create few disruptions for daily travel. Personally, I figure the engineers and project managers have a better handle on what is needed for these jobs than I do.
I have noticed crews working later into the evenings, and they seem to be getting some of the work finished earlier than some of us may have thought.
All road projects can be inconvenient, and it's only human nature to complain about things which disrupt our lives, even if it is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.
But it should make things better.
It won't last forever. We just have to try to keep that in mind and have some patience in the meantime.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)