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CBS2 Exclusive: Bus Stop Near Gracie Mansion Has Been Under Construction For 16 Months

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- How long should it take to build a bus stop?

As CBS2 Political reporter Marcia Kramer reported, on First Avenue in Yorkville – around the corner from the Gracie Mansion where Mayor Bill de Blasio resides – it has taken about a year and a half and the process is still not done.

Irate residents and business owners want to know why.

"They gave us fliers to all the stores that it's going to be done in six weeks, and it's been going on already 16 months," said barbershop owner George Khozzhayev. "And I don't see the end of it, actually."

Area resident David Katz put the lengthy construction project into perspective.

"Do you know that they started the Empire State Building in January of 1930 and finished it in May of 1931?" Katz said. "This has been going on longer than that."

Residents who work near First Avenue between 86th and 88th streets have grown furious and frustrated as city contractors undertake the seemingly never-ending project.

CBS2's Kramer set out for answers, but said what she discovered may lead to more anger and frustration for those living with the urban tyranny of jackhammers and backhoes that line up every day at the crack of dawn.

The noise is so loud that Amy Henry has to cover her ears.

"It's annoying," Henry said. "It's never-ending, the construction. It's too long; it's too long to put up a bus stop."

Kramer contacted the city Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, discovering that the city asked the MTA to take over construction of something called a "bus bulb." It is supposed to be a special stop for the city's fleet of select buses, where the curb actually juts out into the traffic lane to make maneuvering faster and stops shorter.

But something went very, very wrong with the Yorkville project, Kramer reported.

"Every time they finish, they start again," said bakery worker Joanne Hooper. "So we don't know what's going on. They just keep ripping up the street."

Sources told CBS2 that one redo, or start-over, happened because when workers dug up the street, there was a water main they did not know existed. Another time, it was a slashed fiber optic line, and another time, the MTA was not happy with the way the concrete was poured.

The delay caused yet another stunning postponement, Kramer reported.

The MTA said the project was supposed to be completed by early this past October, but it had to be covered over completely so the marathon could come through after the TCS New York City Marathon could come through.

After the marathon, the digging began again and again.

"It's insanity," Katz said. "At this point, everything makes me angry about this project."

The city said the project costs $3.5 million. The MTA sign on First Avenue says $15 million, and no one will say when it will be done.

The agency said it regrets that the work has taken so long, but a spokesman said it cannot "discuss it in detail because the contractor has filed contract disputes against us."

CBS2 intends to continue following the story and continue demanding answers.

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