Concerns that residents have about construction on Orchard Drive have been exaggerated, the city manager says.
Tom Hardy said a Tuesday Deseret News article was slanted toward criticism of the project. He said the reaction he has received from residents who live along the 1.3-mile route has been evenly split."I would characterize it as an inconvenience that residents experience every 40 to 50 years. It is not nice and not pleasant," Hardy said. "We won't deny there have been problems. There are problems in every project we do."
Hardy said that Bountiful residents should understand the entire block is not a disaster and cited instances where many residents were complimentary of the project and workers.
A group of residents threw a block party for construction workers and a petition by 50 residents who thanked the workers for making the disruption in their lives bearable. He also said officials have promptly responded to residents' complaints including personal visits to homes.
Hardy said the city had attempted to resolve specific problems created between McNeil Construction Co. workers and residents. Residents had complained about abusive language and poor workmanship.
Hardy said construction company officials have asked workers to refrain from foul language and to avoid confrontations with residents. Bountiful Police, in one instance, arrested a worker after a confrontation between he and a resident, Hardy said.
Where there were disputes with property lines or questions about how retaining walls and the street was built, representatives from the city, state and contractor have made personal visits to residents' homes trying to accommodate concerns.
Hardy said that some of the dissatisfaction caused to Orchard Drive residents Charlie and Dianne Hamilton, who had their car damaged and were dissatisfied with workmanship on their property, was caused because they changed their mind about how they wanted retaining walls constructed on their property.
He also responded to a charge by resident Darlene Phillips who said a retaining wall on the street was constructed because of an "engineering mistake" - causing the road to drop several feet.
"There were some minor adjustments, but there was not engineer error. There might have been a street level change of plus or minus five or six inches. Most of the complaints occurred because we widened the street. Residents have been using the city's right of way for years. Whenever you take that away people have feelings," Hardy said.
He said that residents will have complaints as progress changes the sleepy residential town atmosphere. Similar complaints were heard during on road-widening projects on 500 South and 2600 South.
He also said that people who made complaints about the use of concrete in the road construction don't understand the quality of such roads. He said while it is true that in the event of underground utility problems a hole would have to be cut in the concrete, a concrete patch is much more durable and unlikely to cause a pothole. The life of the road - 40 to 50 years - is much longer than asphalt roads which last about 8 to 10 years.
He said that concerns about safety on the new street are unwarranted. If anything, the new road will be safer because sidewalks will now line the entire street. In some spots there have been no sidewalks. The speed limit on the street will remain at 30 and 35 miles per hour.