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Port Charlotte road project creates safety hazards for pedestrians

In an effort to make a sidewalk safer, it has become even worse. A construction project started over a year ago in Port Charlotte to fix lanes and sidewalks, but it’s becoming a hazard, according to some people who live nearby.

Neighbors are facing another 10 to 12 months of construction and a street with no safe place to cross.

Jose Antonio Rollon has to navigate Olean Boulevard every day in his wheelchair, and his neighbor and friend Richard Spruill said he fears for his life, too.

“All of a sudden with all this construction, the sidewalks are gone,” Spruill said.

And there’s no end in sight.

“You’re either having to walk in somebody’s yard, which is uncomfortable for me and them. Or you have to walk in the street, which is way uncomfortable for me because I don’t want to get hit by a car.”

The project stretches from Easy Street to US-41. The goal is to add two more lanes and make the area more pedestrian-friendly, which clearly isn’t the case right now – whether you’re walking or in a wheelchair.

“I think what they should do is create alternative sidewalks so it’s safe for the people like me and other people to cross and navigate,” Rollon said.

“There’s a lot of us people in wheelchairs around here. We are being restricted now with no access to pharmacies, groceries, hospitals.”

People who live along the stretch being worked on wish Charlotte County could keep pedestrians in mind.

“The sidewalks have been an obstacle course. That’s interesting to say the least,” Spruill said.

The county’s advice is for people to call Charlotte County Transit for a safe ride. The cost is as low as $2.

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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