Osceola County road project falls behind schedule

A road project on U.S. Highway 192, near St. Cloud, seems to be taking forever to finish and businesses along the stretch of road are worried about their bottom line.

Cones and heavy machinery are seen on the four mile stretch of roadway just West of Saint Cloud. The nearly $40 million project has been altering traffic for almost three years.

"I'm not trying to be ugly but we've all been paying the price now for two and a half years financially and in our cars," said Tracy Rigglelyle.

Rigglelyle, who is a waitress at Sonny's BBQ, is talking about access to businesses on U.S. 192 being blocked.

"Our entrances to Sonny's have been blocked three or four times in the last two years,’ Rigglelyle said.  "All of our incomes are being impacted, we have customers come in daily that say they can't get into our parking lot or pass it, or they weren't even sure if we were still open.”

Rigglelyle tells us she has tried calling the contractor, City of St. Cloud and the Florida Department of Transportation but has not gotten any information on the project.

"Is it too much to ask, as a taxpayer of St. Cloud, to be informed on what the project is and what a timeframe on the project is, that's it," said Rigglelyle.

So, we set out to get those answers. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) explains that the project is to widen the road and is behind the original schedule -- 190 days to be exact. The department reports delays due to weather and added days due to work added to the project. Completion is now scheduled for fall of this year.

“The project is on schedule, based on the current timeline,” said Steve Olson, FDOT spokesman. “The department realizes economic activity and accessibility are extremely important to businesses and the community. We want the contractor to do everything possible to keep access points to business open. On this project, business driveways are open and accessible. There have been periodic median opening closures to allow the contractor to work in these areas. There may be more in the future. However, we encourage motorists to use the nearest available median openings for U-turns to still access businesses.”

Rigglelyle says she is glad to finally have answers and be able to tell customers when the project will be done.