South Philly residents fed up with street utility project

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) As if parking in South Philadelphia wasn’t bad enough. Throw in a major utility project and you have a recipe for frustration.

"It looks like beachfront property” says Joe Werner.

Werner is talking about the view from his 11th Street home in Bella Vista.  A 10-foot pile of sand, utility pipes and bulldozers that have been outside his door for last 2 months. It’s part of a major utility upgrade for Philadelphia Gas Works. Large mains are being replaced streets around the Bella Vista neighborhood.
Bu the project means he has to park blocks away. If he’s lucky.

Werner says, “This is not normal. Sometimes I find myself 5 6 blocks away and an hour later.”

“It’s just a little dangerous” said one resident trying to push her baby stroller across Fitzwater Street.

Philadelphia Gas Works tells Fox 29 the pipe installation project is behind schedule. Workers experienced several collapses after they started digging that prompted the Streets Department to be called in to help.

Kate Martin has lived on 11th and Fitzwater for 30 years and says she’s never had this kind of problem getting into her own home.

“You have to walk out into the street there are things you might trip over holes” Martin said.

Residents say the problems range from lack of parking, to curbs closed to dirt and sand getting into houses. For elementary school students like Drew Levin who lives in the construction zone noise is the biggest problem.

“I grew up in the city so it doesn’t really bother me that much but it is still really loud. It’s so bad I can’t do my homework,” says Levin.

According to street signs, the work was scheduled to be finished by May 15. But Philadelphia Gas Works website now says the pipe project is scheduled to be completed by June.

“I understand things need to be done. But I don’t understand everything has to be done at once,” says South Philadelphia resident Ginger Dilello.

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