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      Brownsville drainage project frustrates neighbors

      His yard and a palm tree used to be Fernando Rivera TMs pride and joy.

      However, he said, his efforts to keep them green are going to waste.

      He said the plants have dried up, and he blames it on one thing: a drainage construction project on East Avenue in Brownsville.

      "My plants have dried up from so much salt coming from the dirt, Rivera said.

      When the wind picks up, they don TMt sprinkle water on the loose dirt, and when there's no wind they spray water. It's a big mess."

      The construction is for the Brownsville Public Utilities Board Southmost Wastewater Collection System and Lift Stations Project.

      It TMs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

      The project aims to replace old sewer pipes, remove a sewer lift station to reduce odor in the area, and reconstruct lift station 8.

      Neighbors were first happy about the project but now are frustrated.

      "It's taking too long, Rivera said. They're constantly tearing up the roadways and the alleys."

      Maria Torres, also a resident on East Avenue, agrees.

      "We see them working everyday, but it's the same thing over and over again, she said. They dig a hole and cover it up. They're not moving forward."

      PUB officials said JM Construction, contractor for the project, has not paved the street along East Avenue due to a shortage of limestone, which they import from Mexico.

      They said it's standard construction practice to create a limestone base on the road, before they apply asphalt.

      They added it's an issue beyond the contractor or PUB's control.

      "Well they need to hurry up and get those materials as soon as possible, because this really is an inconvenience," Torres said.

      A thought echoed by Rivera.

      I try to keep my car clean, but everyday it gets full of dust.