DOWNEY – Besieged by delays, road work on Lakewood Boulevard will continue until at least late January, city officials said this week. The $3.9 million street improvement project got underway in July and was originally projected to be completed by October. The project calls for new street pavement, street widening, a third travel lane, ornamental lighting, new raised medians with irrigation and landscaping, and other work.
The city’s contractor, Sully-Miller Contracting Company, has blamed the project delays on recent rainfall and “unforseen circumstances.”
“Specifically, the potable and recycled water improvements of the project were delayed due to the Contractor encountering extensive underground utilities during pipeline installations, having to abandon and remove additional water facilities prior to installation, extension of the recycled water main, installation of additional domestic water services, contending with unmarked substructure facilities and excavating thicker existing asphalt pavement than originally anticipated,” said Ed Norris, Downey’s deputy director of public works.
Norris said above-ground pavement work should be complete by the end of this month, and that the overall project will be “substantially complete” by the end of January 2015.
He warned, however, that “this timeframe is subject to change considering potential weather delays and unforseen circumstances.”
“In addition, please be advised that Lakewood Boulevard...will require periodic traffic lane closures in order to facilitate construction.”
The project delays and lane closures have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue to restaurants and retail stores on Lakewood Boulevard between Florence Avenue and Gallatin Road.
Mayor Pro Tem Alex Saab said he recently met with business owners at Gallatin Center, the shopping strip at Lakewood Boulevard and Gallatin Road, and “they were fuming.”
“They were distraught about the delays and they were concerned that the contractor wasn’t working fast enough,” said Saab. “We’re listening to the concerns of the businesses and rest assured we are doing everything in our power to expedite this and to complete this project as soon as possible.”
One restaurant owner told the Patriot that business at her eatery has dropped 50 percent in the last three months due to construction. She requested anonymity to avoid upsetting city officials.
“People don’t want to deal with the hassle of traffic, and I don’t blame them.” she said. “I don’t think the city understands how bad these businesses are suffering. I don’t know how much longer we can go on like this.”
In a letter to area residents and business owners, Norris said the city “understands that the construction activities have imposed various inconveniences on our local community, particularly our business owners. Therefore, every attempt continues to be made to facilitate project completion and minimize disruption.
“Your continued patience, support, and cooperation are most appreciated.”
Published: Dec. 18, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 36