Construction woes in Riverwest; Residents curious, where are the workers?

NOW: Construction woes in Riverwest; Residents curious, where are the workers?

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- An estimated $8.6 million road reconstruction project, stretching between North Avenue and Keefe is underway in the Riverwest neighborhood. However, the project has some resident and businesses  scratching their heads, asking a simple question: Where are the construction workers?

The project started just before March 2022.

The reconstruction began with a led service line replacement, which has been now complete. Now crews are working on a water main replacement, along with a lot of utility work.

That's according to Brian DeNeve, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works.

DeNeve says this is a hefty reconstruction project and it needed to be done.

"A construction project, especially of this magnitude, has certain levels of fluidity," he said.

It's that level of fluidity that has many residents and business owners concerned.

CBS 58 spoke with people along the construction route, who say they are frustrated with the lack of workers they've seen over the past several months.

"We're like are there any workers? where is everybody? We never see anyone working." These are questions from Riverwest resident Linda Lann.

Lann moved to the neighborhood in January 2022, and since then she says she's been dealing with a list of construction woes.

Lann says, "There's wires, there's signs, there's debris. Just sits there and they never move it." Lann is not alone in her frustration.

Business along the avenue have also seen a decrease in sales.

CBS 58 spoke with a family-operated business, Big Daddy's BBQ And Soul Food.

Workers in the restaurant say, "Business has slowed." This comes as potential customers have a hard time finding the restaurants'  entrance amid the sea of orange construction cones, according to an employee of Big Daddy's, Mildira Sanders.

The Department of Public Works insist crews are working, saying, "We are not in a situation in modern road construction where there should be somebody standing around doing something actively every location throughout the project limits."

A bulk of the reconstruction is expected to last through 2022, with some minor landscape work needed in 2023.

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