TULSA, Okla. — Only a few orange barrels and traffic cones now remain along south Mingo between 71st and 81st streets.
But for nearly a month, the 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers fielded complaints from drivers, as to why one of the southbound lanes of Mingo was still shut down, with little or no apparent work being done.
Nearly every day, the owner of S Salon near 71st and Mingo says she fights traffic just to get to her business.
"It's frustrating, very frustrating, " Janice Reed said.
We found her in her car, trying to get to the bank, but waiting and navigating through construction on Mingo can be a huge headache.
"I'm just confused as to what's going on," Reed said.
When the stretch of south Mingo between 71st and 81st was finally reopened this summer after several months of a street widening project, it looked as if drivers' traffic hassles here were over.
"Once they opened up the lanes, then there is a month now we have a little something going on, but you still don't see a lot of work, so I can't tell you what's going on," Reed said.
Since Sept. 1, the entire outside lane of southbound Mingo in this area has been closed down again, causing traffic backups just north of 71st near Union High School, especially when school lets out. After listening to those complaints, the 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers got in touch with the City of Tulsa to find out what was happening along this stretch of road.
"I apologize for any delays you may have experienced," says Ryan McKaskle, a Field Engineering Manager for the City of Tulsa. "I can understand the frustration."
After a major road project, McKaskle said the city and contractor go through a checklist.
"When we substantially complete a project, we do a final walk-through, and we'll identify some deficiencies," he said.
Along that stretch of Mingo, they found sidewalks needed to be repaired, made handicapped accessible, sodding needed to be replaced, and a retaining wall needed to be fixed after a water line break. The correction has been grinding stretches of Mingo, smoothing out bumps and rough spots, which requires closing lanes.
"I can't speak as to why people weren't seeing any activity," McKaskle said. "We were doing some grinding they may not have been seeing as they were driving through."
McKaskle said there may have been times when work wasn't being done, but says road construction projects are complicated. A contractor and sub-contractors must coordinate a long list of individual projects while dealing with material and staffing shortages caused by the pandemic.
Still, McKaskle says contractors are expected to open lanes if work is delayed.
"As long as the road is safe and able to drive, we ask that they pull the cones away so we can maintain traffic," he said.
Contractors face fines if they keep lanes shut down unnecessarily. Penalties can range from $1,000-$2,500 per day per lane closure.
Janice Reed just wishes she'd see more work being done when she's driving through. "Lord willing, eventually the construction will be gone sooner than later," Reed said.
She said she appreciates the improvements along Mingo which runs right in front of her salon. Anyone can report problems that they may come across with a road project.
For information related to specific project status, citizens can contact either 311 (from a 918 area code), Tulsa311@cityoftulsa.org or the contact information provided at the specific project pre-construction public meetings.
At the public meetings, the city will provide the contact for the inspector and contractor’s superintendent for the specific project.
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