Local citizens upset due to road expansion

Driving down Orange Avenue for the past year has been tedious, some students said. With road construction from South Monroe St. to Blairstone Road, many individuals avoid the avenue all together, opting to take the detours.

Charles Wu, chief of engineering for Leon County and project manager of Orange Avenue, said the project was identified in 1993 because the city was getting a lot of complaints. Some of problems were that there were huge ditches on the avenue.

“There were a lot of accidents,” Wu said.? The project is intended to widen the road from a two-lane street to a four lane road. “By doing this, a lot of traffic will be alleviated,” he said.

Also, the project wants to enhance the over all safety of the avenue by adding five-foot sidewalks to the sides of the road and raised medians. The project is scheduled to end July 2007.

“After the project is completed, everyone, including college students will enjoy the road,” Wu said.

But with the improvements there has also been a backlash from individuals who have made driving on the road a routine.

Miesha Williams, a junior economics student, said the construction affects her when she visits her mother who lives in Apalachee Village, a neighborhood within close proximity of the roadwork.

“The current construction more than doubles my travel time to get to my mom’s house,” Williams said.

Williams, 20, a Tallahassee native said the construction also affects high school students who attend Rickards.

“Since Orange is a main road, I know it’s a burden for everyone in the morning trying to get to school.”

Some of the residents who live near the roadwork area said they have had to change their daily routine due to the construction.

Gilbert Williams, 47, said the road construction affects him heavily.

“I have to get up 30 minutes earlier just to get to work on time,” Williams said. He said although he wakes up earlier, he is always late.

Although there are detours in place to accommodate the general public, time constraints and longer routes rattle some residents.

“It takes up to 30 minutes for a person to drive from Woodville Highway to Blairstone Road,” Williams said.

“This project should have been done a long time ago. It’s because this is a black neighborhood that they waited so long.”

Though the construction is starting to weigh on the residents who live close the work site, many FAMU students say they are hardly affected by the construction.

April Eke, a junior construction engineering technology student from Minneapolis, had similar feelings toward the construction.

“I ride the 14 (on TalTran) and it doesn’t run that way,” Eke said.

Eke said it would be inconvenient if Orange Ave. was the vital roadway to a person. But she said there are other alternatives. “It’s not that serious.”

Contact Wesley Martin at famuannews@hotmail.com