Construction frustration: Short term pain for long term gain

TULSA - Tulsa drivers are growing more and more frustrated over road construction.

Topping the list of driver complaints are roads that are repaired before almost soon being ripped up and worked on again, or in some cases, work crew-less construction zones.

"You go down there everything is blocked off. You can't get through. It's backed up for a mile and ain't nobody working. Nobody is around. You know," said Tulsa resident Darrell Maggard.

Maggard's referring to 71st Street just west of the Arkansas River, where construction is once again underway.

2News went to all the construction jobs currently underway in Tulsa to see what is being accomplished and how long it takes.

The city says they estimate how long a job may take and that's the timeframe for the contract.

If contractors are moving crews from one job to another, that's their prerogative as long as the deadline is met.

"It seems like they are good on the start but slow on the finish," said Randy Tankersley, a shop owner affected by the construction.

Tankersley owns the Daylight Donuts at Admiral and Garnett and has for 36 years.

He says he seen a lot over the years, but is now suffering construction fatigue.

When the orange barrels go up outside of his store, he says it hurts business.

"It slows down. People can't get in the parking lot because they have one of my exits closed," Tankersley said.

The work being done in front of Tankersley's business is only one of a number of projects currently construction.

Right now there are 13 arterial and eight neighborhood street construction projects underway.

The City Streets Department says all those projects are being done by private contractors because city street crews are dealing with potholes, snow and ice.

When we got here to Admiral, this all looked very familiar, as if we covered this story before.

So we called the city to see how many times since 1998 the City of Tulsa has done construction on Admiral between Mingo and Garnett. We were surprised by what we found.

1) Admiral from Garnett to Mingo was worked on in 1998.

2) Then they repaired crack and joint sealing as preventive maintenance.

3) In 2002 they did bridge repair work over Mingo Creek.

4) The traffic circle was worked on and completed in 2010... and it's being worked on again now.

5) In 2011 the Admiral and Garnett intersection was worked on and completed in 2011.

6) And Admiral is under construction yet again.

That's six times in just more than 15 years.

How can that happen?

I talked to Tulsa City Engineer Terry Ball. He says it used to be the City would work on a road, and then utilities companies might come along to make repairs which caused the road to be torn up again.

Ball says complaints about that triggered a change in strategy. Since Dewey Bartlett took over as mayor they are doing it all at the same time utilities, water and sewer lines, and then the roads.

"We are trying to coordinate better with the citizens and let them know what is going on and let them know what we are doing and try to eliminate some of that frustration they see by us being out there." Ball said.

And Ball says when contractors do work for the city it comes with a one year warranty.

"At the end of the 12-month period we have a second meeting where we come out and walk the entire job again. If there are anything that has cracked or happened the contractor at his cost must come out and replace or fix it," Ball said.

In 2013, the City of Tulsa spent between 100 to 125 million dollars on road construction. Those who drive on roads that repeatedly get worked on say they wish crews would get it right the first time  and just get it done.

As for Tankersley, he deals with it about as well as he can.

"Is it frustrating? It is, but I've been here a long time and it comes up ever now and again," Tankersley said.

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