Road work makes it harder for the disabled to catch a bus

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Construction along Independence Boulevard is making it harder for people to catch a bus.

Safety barriers are blocking areas that use to be designated CAPS bus stops.

Now, stops have been moved and people have to walk further to get to a different bus stop. It's a very difficult situation for people with disabilities.

"I've had two back operations, a defibrillator put in my chest, I had a heart attack and I have trouble walking," Gary Long told WBTV.

Long now has to walk more than a quarter-mile farther to catch a bus. He said it's a long distance for someone in his condition.

"Getting to the bust stop, having to walk the extra blocks is pretty much impossible for me in 100 degree heat," Long said.

WBTV took his concerns to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Managers told us they feel for Long, but his stop had to be blocked off by a barrier for the safety of construction crews.

"The barrier wall is there, it's not going anywhere, and it has to stay. We need that there because we have to do the work in the median.  That is exactly where the new lanes are going, so we can't just take it out. Unfortunately, we need to have folks walk a little farther to get where they need to go," said Jen Thompson, NCDOT.

Thompson says NCDOT has talked with CATS managers to see if there is anything they can do to make the bus stop locations more accommodating. She admits that a short-term solution is not in sight.

"For now, until we can come together and see if there are any improvements or concessions or changes we can make, we just need folks to use those crosswalks where they are located," Thomson said.

The barriers will be in place through the duration of the project.