City leaders looking to make it easier for drivers, pedestrians in downtown Dallas

The construction boom in Dallas is forcing pedestrians and drivers to navigate a lot of obstacles.

Now the city is proposing changes to smooth out some of the bumps in the road and create better pathways for pedestrians.

Steel plates popping up all over Dallas streets have been driving a lot of drivers crazy.

Now, the city of Dallas is planning to crack down on contractors that leave plates loose, as well as those that unnecessarily block sidewalks.

“I literally live down the street, and sometimes it takes me 20-25 minutes to go from where I currently live, to [my] office,” said Sabrina Mickell, who lives and works downtown.

The huge amount of construction underway in Dallas is causing headaches in more ways than one.

“I live one mile away,” Mickell said. “I could technically walk to work, but I wouldn't because of the construction.”

Sidewalk after sidewalk is blocked off.

”It's rather difficult considering the construction taking place right now, in addition to the scooters that go in and out of the construction,” said Tom Schuyler, who works downtown.

Dallas city council members have been getting an earful from their constituents.

”I think everyone downtown has been awoken by a truck going over a steel plate at night,” Councilman Philip Kingston said.

And certainly every driver has been jolted when they drove over a steel plate.

“It's a little jarring,” Mickell added. “Are my tires going to pop?”

The city is proposing fines for contractors who leave steel plates that clang, and some council members want to go even further.

“In our areas outside of downtown, it's not so much the noise, it's the 2 and 3-inch lip that goes around these things,” Councilman Adam McGough said. “I'm getting a ton of complaints, and have had people ask if I was in a car accident when I hit one of these things.”

The city also wants contractors to provide walkways or scaffolding for pedestrians when it is safe to do so, and remove barricades quickly when work is complete.

And the city is also working to revise its contractor selection process after some contractors who have performed bond work have failed to live up to expectations.

“I've got new streets that are not doing well,” said Councilman Rickey Callahan. “Seems like a year or two after construction, we're getting sink holes, and cave ins.”

Under the proposal, instead of awarding projects strictly to the lowest bidder, the city would also consider things like a contractor's experience and integrity.

Just since August – when the city ramped up enforcement of existing laws – the city has issued hundreds of fines to violators adding up to $100,000.