Anderson Columbia Co. Inc. had 330 days to complete reconstruction of NW 16th Avenue after starting the project on Dec. 19, 2013.
Construction is now months behind schedule.
Due to weather delays, a drainage failure and a streetlight breakdown caused by a car accident, the completion deadline has been extended to a total of 564 days, according to Brian Singleton, transportation engineer and project manager.
“It feels like it is taking forever,” said Scoot Gallagher, 65, a retired Gainesville resident who lives in Florida Park, a neighborhood located along NW 16th Avenue.
The 4-mile long project includes widening the four lanes from NW 57th Terrace to NW 55 Street, widening the sidewalk to 7.5 feet and upgrading facilities to meet current American with Disabilities Act requirements for pedestrians.
Gallagher said the area is not safe for pedestrians. The incoming traffic has to stop for pedestrians to cross because the detour is in the middle of the street without a light.
He said the real problem with the extension of the construction is the lack of workers he sees during the week when he walks around on a sunny day.
The workers have extended operational hours from Monday through Saturday due to delays, but ultimately the contractor manages the work shifts, Singleton said.
With these additional work shifts Singleton said there will not be additional costs towards the original $7.5 million approved by the county commission. But they will not know for sure until the project is completely finished.
Reduced to one lane in each direction, reconstruction in the area is scheduled to be completed at the end of August, according to the Alachua County Public Works Department, Engineering and Operations Division.
Sidewalks were supposed to be completed by the week of July 6, but still remain closed. Singleton said even though the sidewalks are finished they might not be safe for pedestrians yet, which is the reason sidewalks remain closed. Singleton did not elaborate on safety issues.
Tommy Thompson, a resident of Gainesville for more than 20 years, said the construction is great and the Florida Park is glad to have it.
The biggest problem Thompson sees and hears from surrounding neighbors is the absence of turning lanes.
He said in his neighborhood he can find a way to avoid NW 16th Avenue all together, but people from the Brywood area have to resort to using the road, which is almost impossible to make a left on.
“People just have to be patient with it,” he said.