As construction projects seem to block Ohio Valley drivers at every turn, people are speaking out and saying enough is enough.
One doctor at East Ohio Regional Hospital said he spends a total of 2 hours a week sitting in traffic. However, ODOT officials said it will all be worth it in the end.
Dr. Gabriel Sella of East Ohio Regional Hospital had a meeting at OVMC Tuesday. He said he had to start out from Martins Ferry, 30 minutes before the meeting, just to get there on time.
”In almost 28 years that I have lived in this valley, it never took me programming half an hour to get across Wheeling to Ohio Valley Medical Center,” Sella said.
He said the Bridgeport bottleneck is where everything comes to a halt. He is coming from Steubenville to Bridgeport, where a person can go through four or five construction zones.
”That is almost a joke if it wasn’t so sad,” Sella said. “And that has gone on for at least five years.”
Other residents are speaking out about the unsafe detour road conditions that officials are telling drivers to use.
“With Marion Street closed, that’s bad enough. But Route 40, you’ve got so many potholes you can’t drive fast. You’re gonna have bottlenecks everywhere,” Allan Blanchard said.
ODOT officials said they understand the frustration, but the work has to be done.
“I know it’s difficult. The only thing I would ask them is to be patient. We’re working hard. We’re progressing as we’d like to. And I think in the end we’ll see the results,” ODOT official Brett Porter said.
Porter said road work is seasonal, and they have to make the most of the warm weather. However, Sella said no thought is given to the people who live and drive here, and the repercussions of everyone being thrown off schedule.
”We don’t know what’s happening because no one’s happening because no one’s reporting to us. Perhaps we’re not important enough. But I think we are,” Sella said.
However, not every driver in the Ohio Valley is angry.
“I’m just glad that construction is finally beginning this summer,” Dean Barath said. “They’re finally fixing the roads. You’re gonna have construction somewhere. So at least they’re doing a good job on everything.”
The good news is two Marion Street ramps will re-open in July. The bad news is they’ll start paving Route 40 in Bridgeport in August.