Drivers and homeowners frustrated by months long road closure

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Driver after driver, Wednesday morning, turned onto Pawnee only to find a road closure sign. One by one, they turned around, hoping to find another route.

"You have two other cars, three other cars right now who are doing the exact same thing I just did," says one diverted driver.

For months, the stretch of Pawnee between Webb and Greenwich has been under construction while workers widen the intersection to include left turn lanes and new traffic signals. The intersection is now closed altogether.

"It is for the safety and also help expedite the construction," says Steve Degenhardt, Wichita Construction Manager.

Michael McClendon says he's he's had to deal with the construction right outside his home for too long.

"You have to drive around in circles to get home some days, and my commute has greatly increased through this," says McClendon.

Since the beginning of construction, new road closures have surfaced and homeowners say they weren't told.

"One of the big things is communication. It changes, it seems like, arbitrarily," says McClendon.

"There have been some changes in this project with some unforeseen underground issues that have prompted some of these closures, and we want to keep the safety of the public first and foremost," says Degenhardt.

This isn't the only cause for frustration in the area. At the Kellogg, Greenwich and I-35 interchanges nearby, traffic is also backed up because of construction.

"With Kellogg and Greenwich in the area too, we recognize that it's a challenge to coordinate all these projects together...We can't avoid having construction in an area at the same time," says Degenhardt.

City officials say they hope to have Pawnee completely reopened by August and the entire project completed by late 2019.

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