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ROAD WIDENING PROJECT IN BOUNTIFUL IS GIVING SOME RESIDENTS NIGHTMARES

SHARE ROAD WIDENING PROJECT IN BOUNTIFUL IS GIVING SOME RESIDENTS NIGHTMARES

If it were a movie they might call it "Nightmare on Orchard Drive."

But for some residents along a 1.3 mile street widening project, the plot doesn't come in celluloid. It does come with special effects created by a concrete saw at 2 a.m., foul-mouthed workers yelling at children, a car crushed by a backhoe and a near hit of a home by an errant water truck."It has been a progression of nightmares," said Darlene Phillips, who lives just off Orchard Drive.

Along with the frustration residents feel, the project, once scheduled to be completed by January, won't be finished until summer. Construction on the four-lane road is scheduled to resume again next April because officials say it's now too cold to pour concrete.

The $1.8 million project, under direction of the Utah Department of Transportation, is financed by a 91 to 9 percent match of federal and Bountiful funds. McNeil Construction of Woods Cross is the contractor.

"I don't feel like I have been treated very well. When there is a problem someone else is blamed," said Dianne Hamilton faulting the contractor and city and state, officials.

Three weeks ago Hamilton walked out of her home at 1100 South across Orchard Drive to where her Subaru station wagon was parked on a side street. She first thought it wasn't her car and then realized its rear had been crushed.

Workers explained that a runaway backhoe had accidently run into the car during the night. The backhoe was gone and workers hadn't bothered to call the police or find the car's owners.

"Don't worry, they will fix it," she was told.

Hamilton, who currently drives a rental car provided by the construction company's insurer, said police still haven't figured out what exactly happened.

"I asked the police, `Don't you think it is amazing that nobody heard or saw anything?' " she said.

Residents only a block down the street have been having similar thoughts ever since air brakes on a parked water truck failed and it crashed into a retaining wall two weeks ago.

"If it hadn't gotten hung up on cement retaining between us and our neighbors, it would have gone through our house," said LeAnne West.

West said that workers promised to return to repair the damaged retaining wall the next week. That was two weeks ago.

All along the route people have been frustrated by the inconveniences and officials' attitudes. Residents have been required to tote groceries from cars parked on side streets, guests have stayed away and taking out the garbage means a trip down to a Dumpster on the corner.

"It has been interesting to see a portable toilet at the top of street," West said.

Not all residents are as critical of the project and the workers. Lisa Moss and Michelle Lakin explained how workers had helped to carry groceries for some people. One pregnant woman, faced with crossing the muddy construction area, proved chivalry isn't dead. A worker carried her across the street, Moss said.

"The street is really nice. Hopefully they will get my driveway done soon," she said.

Moss was one of the residents who helped throw a block party for the workers. Some 50 residents signed a petition thanking the workers. Hamilton's husband, Charlie, said he wasn't invited.

Marjorie Moss says officials made a mistake by choosing to construct the road out of concrete. A broken water pipe or utility problems would mean the only way to get under the street is cut a hole in it, she said.

Hamilton and neighbor Darlene Phillips are disappointed in the fact that officials originally said there would be no retaining walls along the street in their area. Now, because of what Phillips calls an "engineering mistake," Charlie Hamilton said the fence-topped retaining walls make the street look like a a prison.

He said Dianne Hamilton is worried about the fact that there is no parking strips between the sidewalk and curb. An out-of-control car could easily strike a pedestrian pinning him against the retaining walls.

"My children will never be able to walk to school," Dianne Hamilton said.