Commuters living in south Chandler say they’re feeling boxed in their subdivisions by ongoing construction projects that have torn up roads and left rough, unpaved detours in their wake.
"It’s crazy, there’s no way out," said Vielka Miller, who lives in southeast Chandler.
For residents like Miller, just getting out of their neighborhoods can take up to 30 minutes.
But for a city expected to reach residential buildout in the next four years, southeast Chandler is the last stand for homebuilders. And this means road and infrastructure work will likely continue as subdivisions gobble up the remaining land.
There are at least 16 road restrictions or closures because of construction projects in south Chandler.
"It’s a real tightrope the city has to walk to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in a set amount of time," city spokesman Jim Phipps said. "But at the same time, you are inconveniencing the public you’re trying to serve."
Chandler resident Alex Gernert said the dirt and rock detours have caused both glass and paint damage to his vehicle and tensions are running high among residents over the lengthy road closures and rough detours. He’s even heard rumors of an initiative drive to require developers to provide paved detours except for construction periods less than 72 hours.
"If there isn’t changes to the way developers do things, then we’ll be forced to do that," Gernert said.
One main traffic snag now stems from a sewer line being installed beneath Chandler Heights Road between Gilbert and Lindsay roads. The project has been delayed mainly because of problems with unstable soil that are common in that area, said Beth Huning, Chandler’s public works director.
Problems were compounded when the city forced the developer doing the work, T.W. Lewis, to reopen the road to make way for traffic diverted by another construction project nearby on Gilbert Road.
"They were hoping to get all the work done during their first road closure," Huning said.
Huning said the temporary asphalt is expected to be in place within the next month.
City transportation officials plan to discuss current and upcoming projects, as well as how they plan for them, during public meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Oct. 11.
It’s a meeting residents like Gernert might want to attend.
"Every time they put up a sign that the road will be closed three weeks, it’s closed six," he said.
What: Chandler transportation and road construction planning meeting
When: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 11
Where: Tuesday’s meeting at Chandler Municipal Airport, 2380 S. Stinson Way; October meeting at Basha Branch Library, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive Information: (480) 782-2225
Under construction: Roads with major projects under way in south Chandler include:
• Riggs Road from Arizona Avenue to just east of Gilbert Road.
• Arizona Avenue from Chandler Heights Road to Queen Creek Road
• Gilbert Road from Chandler Heights Road to Ocotillo Road.
• Chandler Heights Road from Alma School Road to Arizona Avenue.