Carbondale residents grapple with construction delays |

Carbondale residents grapple with construction delays

Chad Abraham

Ruth Powers has taken to wearing earplugs. But even those can’t ward off the vibrations that shake her home day after day.Powers and other residents in a three-block section of south Carbondale are enduring a construction project plagued by weeks of delays. The roads, sidewalks and several driveways have been ripped up on Marble Court and Crystal Circle.”The noise is bad, the dust is bad. And they start at 7:30 in the morning,” Powers said. “We work at night and we get up later, so that’s really rough.”The project was scheduled to be done a week or so after Memorial Day. It now looks like construction will be complete in the second week of July, said Jennifer Belkmap, Aspen Earthmoving’s production manager on the project.Delays in receiving concrete for the sidewalks and driveways, coupled with the poor quality of dirt that workers found underneath the old roads, are behind the delays.”We had some extra work that we had to do,” Belkmap said. “All the dirt that was in the ground was really bad, so we had to [dig] everything down to 2 feet below what the new road is going to be.”Along with the noise and vibrations from the heavy machines ripping up and grading the road, residents are experiencing parking inconveniences.”Sometimes we can’t park in the driveway and [Second] Street has been full, so we’ll park over here and get a warning on our car,” said Powers, pointing to a nearby condominium complex.Even the mailboxes have been affected. A postal worker who didn’t want to be named said since the roads have been lowered, he is now putting mail in some boxes that are 6 feet high. The worker said the post office has passed around fliers informing residents that their mailboxes are out of compliance.”They’re all supposed to be 42 inches high. They were all fine before,” the postal worker said. “These [construction] guys pretty much caused the problem.”Jan Huck has been living on Marble Court for 32 years. As unpleasant as the construction delays have been, the work is badly needed, she said.”This subdivision was graded wrong from the beginning,” she said. “After living here this long, I’ve never had new streets [or] sidewalks. My daughter lives two doors down, and we don’t have streetlights. As I walk down to her house at night, I have to take a flashlight. The sidewalks were every which way. You could really trip and hurt yourself.”The nasty comments aside – a computer consultant on Crystal Circle said “a 6-year-old with a Tonka truck could work faster” – most residents have been understanding, Belkmap said.”For the most part, everyone’s been really good out here,” she said. “They know it’s going to help them out in the end.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is