I appreciate that the Elton Hills Drive bridge project was deferred until North Broadway is closer to opening. However, the other side of the coin comes into play when I dust off my former "hockey mom" hat. How will the Elton Hills Drive closure affect youth and high school hockey games and practices? How about figure skating? Will most ice-related events be moved to Graham Arena for the winter since Elton Hills Drive traffic jams have been known to be a concern following big games, even when Elton Hills Drive was open to a full four lanes. -- Former hockey mom

There are no plans to reschedule any events or practices at the Rec Center while bridge work is being done.

I asked a few traffic managers about potential changes and they returned with reports of blank stares and little concern.

Dale McCamish, Rochester’s recreation and facilities division head, said all activities will continue as scheduled during the anticipated nine-month closure as the bridge is replaced.

“I would have to say that the Recreation Center is the home base for the Grizzlies, Rochester Swim Club and Rochester Figure Skating Club and as long as there is a way to get there, they will come,” McCamish said.

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Local coaches they don’t expect the temporary bridge removal to create new concerns.

While the bridge repair will lead to all four lanes of Elton Hills being open to traffic for the first time since 2018, the temporary closure could improve traffic flow to and from the Recreation Center and 125 Live.

Since Elton Hills Drive traffic from the west will be detoured to Third Avenue Northwest before connecting to 13th Street Northwest and then Broadway Avenue, drivers leaving the Rec Center at the westernmost Elton Hills Drive access point will not need to contend with traffic from two directions.

All traffic approaching the facility will also be coming from the same direction.

The limited options could require some patience as groups leave and enter the site, but they will also reduce the potential for conflicts and crashes, which can contribute to longer traffic delays.

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