State Rep. wants Hwy 190 widening project to speed up - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

State Rep. wants Hwy 190 widening project to speed up

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MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - What was to be a routine road widening project in Mandeville is turning into a nightmare for motorists and nearby businesses. Now, a state representative is demanding answers from the company behind the widening of Highway 190.

Drivers agree, getting through this construction on Highway 190 is anything but pleasant. "It's horrible and it just hurts the vehicle," Minnie Costa said.

Brandy Lestermau adds, "I do stay away from it but we had to come over here today for an orthodontics appointment, other than that I try to stay away."

The road widening project has been going on now for almost a year. The work isn't just causing headaches for motorists, it's also affecting sales at nearby businesses, like those at the Village shopping center.

Mark Benfatti, the owner of N'Tini's Restaurant said, "I know I'm down about 20 percent. I talked to the man at CVS yesterday, he's down 30 percent."

After receiving so many complaints, from people like Benfatti, State Rep. Tim Burns fired off a letter to the contractor hired by the DOTD to do the work, Command Construction. Burns asks for a detailed construction timeline and commitment to finish the project or else he'll ask the state Department of Justice to explore legal remedies. "The main issue that I have, because I drive by there pretty frequently, is that the project appears to be under manned," Burns said.

It's an issue Benfatti has noticed too. He says he's grateful someone is stepping up and saying something. "Everybody's trying to massage and get this done. This was a really forceful letter and thank goodness, I think it's about time," Benfatti said.

The work was supposed to be finished by now. The DOTD admits there have been delays due to weather and plan changes and estimate the new completion date to be late summer, early fall. However, in a statement, a spokesperson admits that timeline could be altered yet again.

Mark Benfatti says he's completely fed up. "It's frustrating and expensive. All I know is, I just want them gone so I can get back to business," Benfatti said.

If it takes Command Construction longer than the allotted days outlined in their contract, the company will be fined $5,000 per day. When we asked the DOTD the exact date that penalty kicks in, we were told those details are under discussion. 

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