Construction is continuing through the state’s unprecedented order requiring Coloradans to stay at home unless obtaining or providing limited essential needs, and ongoing work has been a source of both consternation and reprieve amid the coronavirus pandemic in Boulder.
Shaun Kremin, a resident of central Boulder, has been worried construction site workers at the corner of Junction Place and Meredith Way, near his home, could be at risk of spreading the virus among themselves and to their families. Kremin has been watching building progress in the area that has long been under development, even during the government-ordered shutdown.
“My entire community over here, we’ve all been like, ‘It seems so strange this is the one thing that is still going on,’” Kremin said.
He believes roadwork and public works projects should be allowed to continue under the extraordinary measures that have halted normal American life, but questions whether allowing activity on commercial jobs is prudent.
Local road improvements are facing a separate issue caused by the virus. While a reporter inquired to city officials whether any projects have been helped out or moved along quicker than anticipated by minimized traffic volumes, it turns out less travel is a bit of an obstacle to present work in Boulder.
“Current projects taking place will not see a great benefit from reduced traffic,” city spokesperson Julie Causa said. “Because much of our work is focused on local and residential streets, we are actually finding our work to be more challenging because there are more parked cars on streets and more people walking on sidewalks where repairs and capital maintenance are taking place.”
Worries for construction workers and their families getting exposed to the virus as a result of the government’s allowance of building jobs may be legitimate, but active work sites could also play a role in boosting mental health for people feeling stir-crazy, or anxious about a job loss or lack of income while relegated to home during the pandemic.
For people needing some relief from the news and virus-related employment impacts, getting out of the house on a drive, walk or hike can be helpful, as can having a glance at some active road construction or other building activity on forays outside the home, according to Janine D’Anniballe, who earned a doctorate in counseling psychology and leads the Moving to End Sexual Assault program by Boulder-based Mental Health Partners.
It can be a reminder that we are all part of something larger than ourselves, and there is still some normalcy in the world during the pandemic, that will resume in all other areas of life, .
“Having some idea where there is life happening, whether that’s in the natural world, or noticing people are doing some construction on the roads, feeling that connection to bigger things, that can help us manage or deal with the stress of all this,” D’Anniballe said.