By the time Scott Heimlich found out about the road project on East Whittier Street, it was too late.

By the time Scott Heimlich found out about the road project on East Whittier Street, it was too late.

The work had already started.

The owner of Barcelona restaurant, smack dab in middle of the construction, said the response from the city of Columbus was vague and the city didn't inform anyone in advance of changing traffic patterns.

"We're dealing with it," he said. "Because of the lack of information, we didn't know what we were getting into."

The project involves the replacement of water lines and fire hydrants in the area. As part of the work, the city has made Whittier one way eastbound between Mohawk and Ebner streets to accommodate construction.

The city determined that two-way traffic could not be safely maintained on Whittier because of the narrow street, said Laura Young Mohr, spokeswoman for the Columbus Department of Public Utilities.

The $840,000 project, which includes other repairs in the area and has taken away some on-street parking, began July 18 and is scheduled to conclude at the end of August. Repaving work will follow.

The city is using two types of drilling methods - a traditional open-cut system and horizontal directional drilling, the latter being trenchless technology meant to minimize the disruption to brick streets.

For any brick removed that cannot be salvaged, it will be replaced with other historic bricks. Open-cut construction will be used for project locations with asphalt pavement.

Mohr said the city could have given more advance notice and could have been clearer about the process.

"We admit we could have done more," she said. "We're addressing that going forward."

The city did send a letter dated July 22 to residents to announce the repairs.

Mohr also pointed to the Paving the Way website,, as a resource for residents to check on construction projects throughout central Ohio.

Mike Yarbrough, president of the German Village Society's board of trustees, said he was surprised the organization wasn't notified ahead of time.

"We are happy that there are some infrastructure improvements going on and hope that if additional work is being done on other streets in the village that we get notification so that we can alert the members of the society and other residents through our (Neighbors4Neighbors) emails," Yarbrough said.

Whittier Street resident Mandy Medve said she, too, was unaware of the city's plans.

"I would have liked to have known something was coming and what it was," she said. "That would have been helpful, just some sort of notice."

Yet, she and her husband, Steve, have been able to manage without too much inconvenience.

"I had no idea what the construction was all about," she said. "It hasn't impacted us. It's not causing us the headache just because we have a garage. (Whittier's) one-way, but it's pretty easy for us to navigate."