You can't go through Montreal without encountering cones. Signs send pedestrians to the opposite sidewalk; detour signs send motorists on exploratory missions. Each time I go out, I'm prepared with a mental map of alternate routes. You don't believe me? Check out this map from the city with all the road work marked. Bus routes are rerouted so even leaving your car at home and taking public transportation is a treasure hunt to find where the bus stop has been relocated.
That's what happens when cities become complacent about their infrastructure. Centuries old pipes spring leaks and make the ground around them unstable. The city is playing catch-up - replacing water pipes and sewer pipes or lining existing ones. This is a huge undertaking so the cones will be around for a long time, simply moving from place to place causing constant surprises for motorists and pedestrians alike.