One of the busiest roads in the downtown Kitchener area is partially closed for construction – and that has frustrated drivers trying all sorts of routes in search of a detour.

Weber Street is closed to all eastbound traffic between Cameron Street and Borden Avenue, while westbound traffic is down to one lane.

The spillover from Weber’s closure is leading to rush-hour gridlock on surrounding roads. Thursday afternoon, there were significant delays reported on neighbouring streets such as Charles, King and Cedar.

Charles is part of the official detour for through traffic, with drivers being advised to use Frederick Street and Borden to get to and from Charles at either end of the closure.

“The biggest thing that we notice is the big lineup of cars,” says Bryan Zettler, who lives near Duke and Cameron streets.

The gridlock isn’t Zettler’s main issue, though. What really has him concerned is the number of cars he’s seen going the wrong way on the one-way portion of Duke Street.

He calls it “extremely frustrating,” particularly because some of those drivers are travelling at high speeds – making the potential damage from a head-on collision with a right-way driver significant.

The work on Weber is expected to continue until November. Next March or April, crews will start on the second phase of the $11-million reconstruction project, from Cameron to Queen Street.

Gary Macdonald, the Region of Waterloo’s head of transportation, says the road, sidewalk and curb replacements will be accompanied by new underground infrastructure. Some of the existing piping below Weber is more than 100 years old.

“It’s a significant undertaking,” he says.

The work on Weber was scheduled to happen earlier this decade, but was put off until 2018 and 2019 so Weber wouldn’t be under construction at the same time as neighbouring roads which were seeing roadwork done for the Ion light rail transit system.

With reporting by Christina Succi