A city street construction project near the famous Haight-Ashbury streets intersection has turned into something of a disaster for that neighborhood.
The contractor, Synergy Project Management, working on the project has ruptured gas lines in five separate incidents along one block, sometimes forcing evacuations. The incidents on Haight Street, between Ashbury Street and Masonic Avenue, have prompted frustrated residents, merchants and an angry county supervisor to speak out.
"So it started back in April and the first day they hit a gas line," said Dave Groeschel, who owns a nearby tattoo shop.
The project was supposed to take a couple of weeks and is now nearly six moths and counting.
Within days of the project launching a sinkhole opened up in the middle of the streets. Merchants in response contacted public works.
"They gave us assurances that work would proceed without further incident," said Christin Evans, a shop owner.
But when the work resumed, so did the ruptures.
A spokesperson for Synergy Project Management, headquartered near Candlestick Park, said the maps for the gas lines provided by PG&E and the city were inaccurate. PG&E said their gas lines were all properly marked.
San Francisco County Supervisor London Breed said inaccurate maps are no excuse for the ruptured gas lines during the project.
"Because after you basically made the mistake of the first gas leak, then wouldn't you do something different?" Breed said.
Synergy bid for the $7 million project contract, figuring it could use heavy equipment to dig up the street within two feet of the gas lines. The company spokesman said if they had to hand dig, the project would have taken much longer and been a lot more expensive.
Meanwhile, nearby shop owners said it has been a rough summer.
"It killed us," shop owner John Slater said of the project. "I mean, it's been really rough."