Local Road Construction Frustrates Area Residents

Road work on Southwest 62nd Avenue continues with the installation of sewer and water lines. This portion of the road is completely closed to cars.
Road work on Southwest 62nd Avenue continues with the installation of sewer and water lines. This portion of the road is completely closed to cars. Lindsay Alexander / WUFT News

Alachua County public works director, David Cerlanek, will talk to contractors about improving communication for a Southwest 62nd Avenue and Southwest 63rd Boulevard road construction project after the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners heard complaints at the meeting Tuesday.

Residents voiced concerns at a public hearing Tuesday evening related to the construction, such as school buses not being able to pick up children, no mail delivery and driveway blockage.

The road services over 5,000 cars daily and creates a cut-through between Archer Road and Williston Road. A 472-home subdivision development called Finley Woods began about five months ago on 62nd Avenue. Workers began installing new water and sewer lines on Monday, blocking off the road to all traffic.

Gloria Brown, a resident of the area, told commissioners two children asked to use her phone to call their grandmother Monday afternoon when the school bus could not drop them off at home.

“We feel very offended about how they’re taking advantage of us in that area,” Brown said.

Carrie Woody, who lives on 63rd Boulevard, told commissioners she was unable to park in her driveway when she returned home Tuesday because of construction. She also said her son’s vehicle is trapped on the driveway, preventing him from using it.

“We deserve to be told what’s going to happen to your driveway and how long it’s going to take,” Woody said. “Someone needs to give them some kind of instruction.”

Mary Swopes, 68, moved to a home off of Southwest 62nd Avenue in 1971 when it was a dirt road.

Swopes told county commissioners she left her house on a Monday afternoon and when she returned she was told she could not pass through the roadwork from the side she was on. Her house was directly on the other side.

A letter was sent to residents, but Swopes said there was not enough notice.

“I pay taxes here,” Swopes said. “I just thought that was so disrespectful. I was really upset.”

Carl Mims Sr., 74, was raised on a property off of 62nd Avenue. He now lives on the property alone. He has concerns about mail not being delivered.

“I can’t tell you anything because there has been no communication,” Mims said. “It’s like dead man’s land. It has affected the entire area.”

The Williston entrance will be completely closed beginning Monday and remain closed through March 9, according to Norfleet Homes project manager Andy Cowart.

The Alachua County Public Works Department is expected to report back to the County Commission the results of talks with contractors by Feb. 17 when it has another meeting. The contractor permit will be pulled if problems caused by the road construction fail to be resolved, according to the board of commissioners.

County chair Charles S. Chestnut encouraged residents to contact a commissioner if problems persist.

About Lindsay Alexander

Lindsay is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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