JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- First Coast News' On Your Side team worked to get answers for a local veteran who said he was practically trapped in his home because of construction.
Jerome Forest lives on Louisiana Street near downtown Jacksonville. There’s only one way in and it's been completed blocked by construction equipment, heavy machinery and massive holes as crews work to replace a 75-year-old sewage line.
When First Coast News found his home on Friday afternoon, there was nowhere to cross the street safely. The middle of the road was full of equipment, standing water and mud.
Forest said his in-home care aides were having difficulty reaching him. They had to park far away, walk at least four blocks and then jump over muddy water to get to him.
"It started two weeks ago and it’s getting worse every day," said Forest. "They can’t get down here because of the mud and stuff."
He’s worried about the off chance of having a medical emergency and dialing 911 because he doesn't think an ambulance could even make it to his home.
"If I was to have to call them, they wouldn’t get here," he said.
He says the construction has halted his trash pick-up. He says they start early in the morning before 7am and drill late into the night.
Anne Sanders is also trying to help. She works at Underhill, an agency that provides his in-home care. She called the city and they told her to contact the non-emergency JSO line to do a welfare check, but she says they didn’t send anyone because JSO told her since she was able to speak with Forest they didn't see the need.
"I said we are trying to provide services for a disabled veteran, I said it several times," said Sanders. "That’s just a long time for someone to not be able to get out of their neighborhood."
JEA says crews start work early and go late because they’re trying to finish their work by Monday, when Darnell Cookman returns to school. Their school building is at the end of the street, which becomes a dead end, and their school buses will need to make it through by Monday morning.
"I have lived in this home for 85 years and I’ve never seen a problem like this," said Forest.
After First Coast News reached out to JEA they responding saying they would send their Community Outreach Director to the construction site along Louisiana Street to see it for himself. He also met with Mr. Forest personally and apologized for the inconvenience.
After hearing our concerns, the city also responded and contacted the contractor at the site who will now go door to door to personally offer to collect trash while their equipment is in the road.
JEA says they will clear a lane by the end of the work day on Friday so traffic can get through on one side. This is especially important for the school buses starting Monday.
They say they plan on trash pick-up being back to normal on Tuesday. They hope the construction will wrap up sometime next week.