O'Neal construction causing road woes for drivers/businesses

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's become a car-jarring ride for those who work and live off O'Neal Lane. Work to widen the road started in September of 2009, but it will be next year before things are finished.

Not only are some drivers fed up, the construction has caused some businesses to relocate.

There are tons of orange cones down O'Neal Lane, cars are held up behind construction equipment and road closed signs are part of drivers frustration. As one woman says, everyday it's something new.

"The lanes are constantly changing," said Karen Urban. "If this lane's going to be closed, have to move over here....just last week I almost made an illegal left turn because they closed that off, but I didn't realize I could only make a right."

For Urban, maneuvering road blocks has led to a bigger problem. She's had to replace part of her car, where bumps and uneven sections of the road have torn up her front fender.

The entrance to her neighborhood is in the construction zone and several potholes and dips have made for a bouncy ride.

"It's going to be a big improvement once it's finished. But it needs to be finished," said Kenny Wendt, who owns a business in the area. But since last October, the building he owns has had a vacant sign up. The tenant that had been there for five years left.

"They didn't renew because of the construction," Wendt said. "You couldn't get in and out. The driveways were all messed up. Would you want to open up a new business like that?"

Wendt says he's losing thousands every month the building sits empty. And although he's met with potential tenants, no one wants to move in until the mess in front is cleared up.

"They did have a town hall meeting about two months ago and said then it'll be finished up next year," Wendt said.

Until then, people like Urban say careful is the thing to be in the construction zone.

"I was trying to turn into my neighborhood and a car thought that was his lane. I'm like, 'Oh my - this could be a head-on collision right here.' It's just unsafe," Urban said.

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