Man worried construction traffic woes could lead to injury on Cedar Rapids’ northwest side

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - For anybody driving in Cedar Rapids recently, they’re used to seeing orange, or detours, or signs to slow down around work sites. In one stretch of northwest Cedar Rapids, neighbors said that changing traffic patterns in a construction zone is making their street unsafe.

“I have a concern somebody’s going to get hurt,” Kim Harbin, a resident of that neighborhood, said.

Harbin, a retired substance abuse counselor, has spent the last year watching construction crews remove the roadway in front of his home on O Avenue NW, along with people not following the new traffic patterns that come with construction. On Friday, he saw two cars drive past a “Do Not Enter” sign and onto the road that was being torn out.

“I saw one guy drive down and turn off the road; 10 minutes later, another guy went down the road and tried to turn around,” Harbin said.

Harbin said he also had to share the roadway with the speeding drivers when he walked to get the mail, and also worried about the safety of the workers.

“I think it was a little dangerous and not legal,” Harbin said.

Adding to the speeding drivers and people who drove down the road that was being worked on, Harbin said people drove the wrong way. People were supposed to drive east down O Avenue and merge into the other lane, but half a dozen people blew past a “Do Not Enter” sign and drove west.

Cedar Rapids Police said this year wasn’t more problematic than other years when it comes to people following new traffic patterns, but they did say people who don’t follow the proper traffic regulations cause significant traffic disruption. They said people should be contacting the police so the issue was reported, which is something Harbin hadn’t done.

“I came close a couple of times, but I believed people would just start to get their heads straight, slow down, and obey the law,” Habin said.

Harbin said he just wanted to see drivers slow down so he could get a new road in front of his house and that everyone else gets to where they wanted to go safely.

“We need to take a breath and realize that people have a job do to,” Harbin said.

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