THE VILLAGE, Okla. – “Just kind of like ants swarming around a little area, they`re just trying to figure out ways through,” said The Village resident Brian Powell.
He’s describing his new normal, living with construction right outside his front door.
“They`ll roll the construction thing, it all vibrates and the house will start shaking,” he said.
He lives right off Britton Road and says his family has also been trying to manage living there with all of the construction.
The project started in January.
“We’re basically tearing out the road, doing some stabilization of the subgrade, and putting the new road back,” said Chris Harlin with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Powell’s driveway is still usable, but he says because it’s so close to a closed road more people use it as a spot to turn around.
“Some people will come zooming down and they`ll back up real quick, so we keep the little girl out of the driveway,” said Powell.
Powell isn’t the only one trying to cope.
A popular Oklahoma restaurant is also feeling the effects.
“Since they`ve torn up the road, it`s just been a disaster. The last four or five weeks, since they`ve opened Pennsylvania instead of coming from May Avenue, instead of coming from west to east, our business is down almost 50 percent at this location,” said Johnnie’s owner and operator Rick Haynes.
Johnnie’s closing its doors Monday for a remodel, something they didn’t originally plan on doing so soon.
“I can’t blame it all on the road because we had planned to do a remodel now for quite a while, but the road has not helped anyone in this area for business as all,” said Haynes. “We can outlast it fortunately for us, but I think a lot of businesses are really struggling.”
One of the biggest points of concern, homeowners not being able to access their own houses.
“The main portion for doing this project, is the asphalt was in terrible, terrible condition so we’re updating that and obviously we’re going to provide concrete and this will be a far better product than was there before,” said Harlin. “In doing so, a lot of the driveways were deteriorated as well, so it made sense while we are there to replace the driveways as well and along with that the sidewalk. Everybody’s driveway will be much better once we’re done.”
“We have older people, we have people that are disabled that cannot move about as easy, it`s important,” said councilman Adam Graham. “I want people to know that us, as a city council, are working as hard as possible to make sure that everyone gets in their house every night and that this road project is done in a timely manner.”
The Department of Transportation says the project is about 60 percent complete, and they expect the eastbound side to go quicker than the westbound.
They also tell us the average daily traffic is nearly 22,000 near May Avenue.
“We`ve got about 80 percent of the westbound side done, we just paved the last portion of the westbound side, and we`ve started, we`re probably about 20 percent done with the eastbound side,” said Harlin.
They tell us they are expected to be finished by mid-November. Just a few weeks past their original finish date of November 1.
“We’ve tried to communicate with the landowners that, hey, we are going to impact you a little bit but we promise you that you’ll have a better driveway than you had before, and we try to give them notice like, hey, we’re going to be working on your area at this time,” said Harlin.