BEND, Ore. -

ODOT closed the Romaine Village Way exit  and entrance at Bend's south end early Monday.

The exit was closed permanently because the new Third Street on-ramp to southbound Highway 97 conflicts with the existing roadway, officials said.

The change is adding more time to Romaine Village residents' commute.

"It just seems like it keeps getting more and more difficult, every time they do something," said Lawrence Lopez. "I can understand why they're doing it, I guess. But in terms of folks that live out here, it just makes it more and more difficult."

Lopez tells NewsChannel 21 that many Romaine Village residents feel they are not being considered by the city.

The closure of the exit means that residents who want to travel south have to use a new route,heading west on Mahogany Street, then south on Lodgepole Drive to reach the Ponderosa Street-Hwy. 97 connection.

The construction is part of the $27 million Highway 97-Murphy Road project.

The project is designed to increase the east-west connectivity and eliminate two sets of traffic lights.