Construction Projects that Take too Long

I’m sure you have one.  Maybe it’s near your home, or your job.  Maybe it’s in a place where you spend your holidays.  I know you know what I’m talking about…..that neverending construction project that goes on and on for years and years.  Maybe it’s a new building or a new shopping mall.  Maybe it’s roadway construction that seems to go on forever.  Whatever the project, you know what I mean by forever!

When I lived in New York, the neverending construction project was the expansion of the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane on the Long Island Expressway in Nassau County.  The LIE is a crowded, overused interstate highway in Long Island that has more time per day with traffic than without it.  Several years ago, Suffolk County decided to make one lane a carpool lane, and only allow cars with 2 or more people to drive in that lane.  It works well, except when there’s traffic in the HOV lane.  Then it’s a nightmare because cars can only enter and exit at specific designated areas.  In traffic, you’re stuck there until one of those areas emerges.  Nevertheless, it alleviates traffic in general.  About 15 years ago, Nassau County decided to add this lane to its section of the LIE.  By the time I moved out of New York (2007), the HOV lane in Nassau Country wasn’t even close to being finished.  There was constant construction on the LIE in Nassau County, backing up traffic for years.  Neverending construction!

When I first arrived in Spain, there was the promise of a wonderful new Center for the Arts at my school.  Unfortunately, my classroom was on the side of the existing building that was across from the construction.  The building was supposed to take 3 months to build….then 6 months….then 9 months….finally, the week before the next school year was supposed to start, and classes had been scheduled into a building that wasn’t completed, the school threatened legal action against the construction company if it wasn’t finished by the first day of school.  This got the job done, and classes began in the new building a week later.  Now, the Spanish are not known for their work ethic.  I have heard people call them “mañanitos,” or “tomorrow people,” people who take the day and push things off until tomorrow.  Sometimes, tomorrow never comes!  This construction project not only extended to 4 times the amount of time it was supposed to last, but it made my teaching life a living hell while having to deal with the construction noise outside my classroom window every day.  In hot Madrid in September and June, I had to keep the windows closed in a classroom without air conditioning!  Neverending construction!

China is a fast growing nation and, as such, there is a lot of construction going on in China.  In the city where I lived, they are constructing a large building that’s shaped like a pair of trousers.  They’re calling it the “Gateway to the Orient!”

trouser building


I lived in Suzhou for 18 months.  Not one day (including weekends) did construction not continue on this building.  However, I saw limited progress.  Yes, there was the odd window that got placed, or the top that actually got finished, but the construction was endless, and LOUD!  They would begin at 7AM and continue until 7 or 8PM.  It was non-stop and noisy.  I’m sure it’s still going on.  I left Suzhou, and the project seemed like it would never be finished.  In addition, in China, construction projects get sped up because people get impatient and need their work done right away.  So these projects get finished, but with shoddy workmanship and materials that are subpar.  The new senior school building at one of the international schools was completed “on time,” 2 days before it was needed for people to move in, but when it rained there were 400 different leak points!  Neverending construction!

Now I’m in another growing city, Singapore, and there is a lot of construction going on here.  The number of cranes on the horizon rivals even Shanghai!  Hopefully, Singapore construction moves more quickly and shows progress.  Waiting and waiting for these projects to be finished and for the decibel level to return to normal has been part of my life for years.  Hopefully I can put an end to it here!



  1. Must really suck to live in such lovely, exotic places that have so much economic growth (and/or turmoil). Maybe someday you’ll get to live somewhere with fewer construction sites, like Bouzmou, Morocco.

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