STILLWATER - The Stillwater Police Department said officers have handed out nearly $20,000 in a block’s long construction zone since last Friday. 

Lt. Dale Higgins said workers repairing a broken waterline on Virginia Street between South Burdick and Perkins were nearly hit by a driver who had gone around barricades closing the westbound lane.

He said since heightened patrols began Friday, August 2 at 1 p.m. through Tuesday morning, officers had written 123 tickets and given out 36 warnings. Each ticket is $161.

One of those tickets belongs to Stillwater resident Jeff Pickens. He said the closure isn’t marketed well and he plans to fight the ticket.

“I had no idea I had done anything wrong,” Pickens said. He says the ticket amounts to two weeks of groceries.

Joe Schrader owns a nearby ministry. He said he’s glad to see the stepped-up enforcement.

“They don’t think it applies to them,” Schrader said. “Then people don’t read, I guess. Or they just don’t care. They just want to take the shortest route. The path of least resistance.”

Some residents took to social media saying the tickets are to increase city revenue.

Lt. Higgins said that’s not true.

“We take the safety of our city work crews very seriously,” Higgins said. “If they complain to us that they are in danger, of course we are going to get out there and try to do everything we can to help them out.”

According to the City, there’s not yet a set date for the road to reopen.