Residents call for traffic-control at South-Central construction site

EL PASO, Texas - Growing pains is something El Paso drivers are quickly getting acquainted with.

From the East Side to the West Side, the sight of orange cones and flashing lights is not uncommon.

For several months, deputies with the El Paso Sheriff's Office have been controlling traffic at one South Central El Paso construction site in front of University Medical Center and near El Paso Children's Hospital.

Although it is common for law enforcement to control traffic flow in congested areas, ABC-7 learned the deputies at the particular site are off-duty.

EPSO spokeswoman Chris Acosta said the deputies are contracted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Blanca Del Valle, a TxDOT spokeswoman, said they have been patrolling the area since January, when construction began on Alameda Avenue.

Deputies are only on-site at designated times.

A UMC volunteer said there should be law enforcement patrolling all day, but has seen deputies only a few times.

"I would like to see more police involved here in the area and watch the traffic and control every street so it can move faster," Jesus Reyes said.

In a statement to ABC-7, Del Valle said: "We have three off-duty officers in place during the morning peak hours and during the afternoon peak hours. They are there to help move the traffic safely around the construction area."

Del Valle also stated that construction crews are out there from 7 a.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m.

As far as who monitors deputies, Del Valle said they were briefed ahead of the project, so they know what is expected of them.

Construction on that portion of Alameda is expected to be completed by spring 2013.

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