Work on utilities, storm drains make for traffic nightmare in Tavares

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TAVARES, Fla. - Tavares is the county seat of Lake County but driving there next week could be a mess.
 

Starting Wednesday, some major downtown streets will be closed for work on a new storm drain system.
 
The road closures will make it much more difficult to get into one of the main places in downtown Tavares where people can park.
 
Long-time Tavares resident Ken Lang said that even in his golf cart, he can't get through the downtown area.
 
"It's a disaster," said Lang. "You come to some places and you want to turn down the street, and it's blocked."
 
It seems that no matter which way you turn in downtown Tavares, there are detour signs and closed roads, and it has been that way for several months.
 
"This is a major project in the city of Tavares. There's more than one contractor involved," said Lake County engineer Fred Schneider.
 
Lake County is also involved, converting a couple of major two-way streets to one-way.
Alfred Street is one of those and it will be closed for several weeks. That means there will be only one way in and out of the county's huge parking garage, which could lead to major traffic tie-ups around the courthouse.  
 
County officials are warning residents that getting to the garage will be difficult.
 
"At the parking garage we have a traffic signal.  We're going to retime that traffic signal," said Schneider.
 
As for the city projects, installing new water and sewer lines involves utility work. Engineers said it is not as simple as doing it one street at a time. 
 
Eddie Lane says fellow residents will be glad it had to be done this way.
 
"If you think they're upset with the roads being rough, you cut their service off -- the water or phone.  You'll see somebody upset," said Lane.
 
The entire multimillion dollar downtown street and utility project is expected to be finished by year's end.