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Frustration over Ash Road roundabout construction delay

WSBT 22 photo

When the intersection of Ash and Edison Roads in St. Joseph County was shut down in early June, drivers were promised a new roundabout by October. But shortly after work began, it stopped, causing frustration.

People want to know what's going on.

WSBT spoke to a lot of people who live nearby who shared similar concerns. They don't understand why progress is at a stand-still, but they hope things are resolved soon.

Neighbors say when contractor Reith Riley ripped up the road near Ash Road and Edison two months ago, they expected the roundabout project to move quickly. But that hasn't been the case.

Joey Pangallo is not upset with the slow pace. What bothers him is that his kids can't play safely in the front yard.

“If I bring them outside, with the way people speed up and down here. Two people try to fit down one lane. I’ve seen people slide in my yard, slide in the neighbor’s yard, it’s crazy and it’s dangerous.”

Other neighbors WSBT spoke to say they can't even open their windows because of all the dirt kicked up by drivers violating the law.

“We have had the sheriff on site at times as well to help ticket violators of that and remind them that it is a construction site, that again, if it were safe for travel it would be open to travel, but it isn’t,” said Jessica Clark, St. Joseph County engineer. “It is an active construction site that does require a detour.”

Clark says utility crews were back on site this week. She says a strike is to blame for the interruption, a labor dispute at AT&T.

“Until that labor dispute was resolved and they returned to work basically a week and half, two weeks ago, the project was on hold.”

She says the contractor will resume work on Monday.

Jeff Burkett says he hope they finish soon.

He says the road closures are costing him an extra hour of travel time every day.

“My biggest concern is that if they don’t get this thing done soon we’ve got school coming up, and then we have winter coming up and plow trucks are not going to be able to get through here,” Burkett said.

The county engineer says the project will be finished enough to have traffic use it in October. That's when Ash and Edison will be reopened to traffic.

Additional work might be needed in November, but it shouldn't interfere with drivers.

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