NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drivers describe road construction and traffic jams across the city as a disaster, and complaints have spiked across the five boroughs.
CBS2’s Ilana Gold was demanding answers Friday on what the city is doing to deal with the traffic nightmare.
The construction and congestion is impossible to avoid across the city. One driver described it as “bad, very bad,” and said he deals with “headaches every day.”
At Eleventh Avenue and 60th Street on the West Side of Manhattan, construction takes up most of the lanes. Over on West 57th Street, there are more cut off and narrow lanes and traffic is crawling.
“Horrible, horrible,” said Anderson Ramirez. “Traffic’s crazy over here.”
Records from the city’s 311 call center show that since March, there have been 2,441 complaints about construction – mostly for blocked sidewalks and streets. That figure is 35 percent higher than the same time last year, when there were 1,806.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” a woman said.
The 311 service said whenever it gets a construction complaint, it forwards the information to the Department of Transportation to address the issue.
CBS2 wanted to know what kind of oversight and enforcement the city Department of Transportation has over the construction zones. The agency told CBS2 it could not provide specifics on Friday, but said it sends inspectors to the sites after getting complaints, and if a company is breaking the rules, it can face a fine.
Every construction site has permits for 90 days at a time. The DOT said inspectors constantly check out the work zones during that time period to make sure traffic is moving, and said it does not just wait for complaints to come in before sending the inspectors.
CBS2’s saw some of those inspectors at Tenth Avenue and 43rd Street Friday afternoon, after pressing officials on Thursday. CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez told Department of Transportation Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez that some residents might say the current system is not working.
“We try to do the best. It’s not perfect. We do go back from time to time. We’ll revise the permits. We’ll revise the logistics plans,” Commissioner Sanchez said. “So it’s really a work in progress.”
And the headaches are far from over. With another few months of construction ahead, CBS2 will keep the spotlight on it.