Bumpy ride for Newtown residents during water main replacement project

Bumpy ride for Newtown residents during water main replacement project
Water line replacement project in Newtown.

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s been a very bumpy ride the last few months for people using Orange Avenue between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 19th Street.

“I’ve torn up the front end of my car underneath on the big pot holes out there,” said Darryl Harvin, a Newtown resident.

The City of Sarasota says the necessary and important replacement of a 60-year-old water line is taking place, which in the end will make the pipes much safer and the water healthier. Once the work is completed in a couple of months, that’s when the resurfacing of the road will take place.

One resident who will be very happy when this is done is Marsha Wilcox. She says that she had fallen crossing the street in front of her home injuring her hand and face.

“It’s very devastating, I mean I have to walk around like somebody actually hit me in my eye," said Wilcox. "It was because they were doing road construction out here.”

City officials say while construction is going on, one lane of the road is closed with a flagger helping to keep traffic moving. When construction isn’t going on, the contractor fills in the previously closed lane with dirt and gravel, allowing cars to travel using both lanes. When it’s not possible to fill in the lane due to weather conditions, steel plates are used to keep the lane open.

Once a week, the contractor paves the area where the pipe has been replaced. When the project is completed, the entire work area will be repaved to be uniform.

For lifetime Newtown resident Lionel Moultrie, he avoids Orange Avenue now as much as he can, especially since he just bought a new car.

“I may go across it but I don’t go up and down it, not at all I’ll take the street over which is Leon," said Moultrie. "I’ll travel that street before I take Orange Avenue, just because of all the holes and all the mud.”

The city says this project and resurfacing of the road should be finished by early November and is reminding drivers to use caution and consider alternate routes.

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