Road blocks turn off drivers

While many roads in Tallahassee undergo makeovers, drivers are growing weary of the detours and traffic hold-ups.

Curt Willits, a professor of humanities at Florida A&M, said the city’s road construction projects cause hassles for him and other drivers.

“It depends on the traffic at the time,” Willits said. “But it is what it is. What can you do about it?”

Willts is referring to the numerous road closures around the city. Some roads began construction as early as April and are behind schedule for reopening.

Work on Lafayette Street, west of The Moon nightclub, started in June and was scheduled to finish in early September. Yet, the road remains closed.

Project manager of the Leon County Department of Public Works Chris Muehlemann said bad weather has been keeping the project from being completed.

“There have been delays in construction due to the heavy rains we experienced in July and August,” Muehlemann said.

He also mentioned that coordination efforts with CSX Railroad are holding up the project.

The Lafayette Street Improvement project from Suwannee Street to Winchester Lane was divided into three phases. It began its design phase in March and is currently in phase two.

Phase one, from Suwannee Street to the CSX Railroad, was completed as part of the Cascade Park construction.

This part of the project included the addition of an eight-foot sidewalk, a storm water conveyance system and road reconstruction. Phase two began in June and is expected to be finished in February. Phase three began September 30 and will run concurrently with the second phase.

Jurmaine Atkins lives near the construction on Lafayette Street and said he has grown accustomed to dealing with the road closure.

“Of course it was annoying at first,” Atkins said. “That’s the fastest way out of the area. But after a while and remembering there’s really nothing you can do about it, we just have to deal with it.”

Motorists throughout the city share Atkins and Willits’ attitude because of the numerous road closures and subsequent detours that accompany them. With more projects being proposed and commenced, drivers will be dealing with the issue of road closures for months to come.

One of the city’s newest projects along Bradford Road began in early September and is expected to continue until the spring.

The improvement will upgrade sewer and water lines, as well as add sidewalks to increase pedestrian accessibility.

Bradford Road, between Monroe Street and Meridian Street, will be completely closed for about 12 weeks, meaning some motorists will either have to deal with another detour or find an alternate route.

“There are other projects currently being considered or designed,” Muehlemann said. of