Disjointed utility project work brings worthy complaints

Williamsport City Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith described the ravages left on city streets following gas line excavations properly when he said recently, “Those holes are sinking daily.”

It certainly feels that way to drivers in Williamsport and South Williamsport in particular, where utility cuts this year are leaving craters in local streets.

The streets get temporary patching until next spring, when full milling and overlay of thoroughfares will be done.

But even the temporary fixes feel less effective than those of the past.

And the work itself seems to be taking longer than expected.

That may be because there has been so much infrastructure work done this year, particularly in Williamsport.

The complaint meter from residents has been high in numbers and volume and it’s completely understandable.

Modernization projects downtown have garnered proper and positive attention.

Any objective look at Williamsport’s center city would reveal it to be cleaner and more up to date than the downtowns of most cities Williamsport’s size.

But the positive image that creates for the city among both residents and visitors is muted when most of the streets within a stone’s throw of the city’s center are extremely bumpy to travel and, frankly, potentially injurious to cars.

The timing for all the infrastructure chaos could not be worse.

City taxpayers were hit with a major real estate tax increase this year.

It’s hard to pay those taxes and first-class city services are one of the few things that can pacify people.

Instead, taxpayers got just the opposite – a year full of disruptive daily detours and an end product of street craters.

We are hopeful that when the permanent work is done next spring, everyone will feel better about this year of the street crater.

But no one should forget how disjointed the process has played out.

If something similar is done next year, motorists and taxpayers have every right to expect a more efficient process.

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