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City marks beginning of massive roadwork project in Bayou St. John and Fairgrounds neighborhoods

City officials and community community leaders broke ground Thursday on the $23 million Bayou St. John, Fairgrounds, 7th Ward Group B roadwork project. Mayor LaToya Cantrell called it her administration’s largest awarded Joint Infrastructure Recovery Response program in terms of cost.

The FEMA-funded project encompasses at least 122 blocks stretching across three City Council districts. See here for a PDF on the project, including a map that shows what’s in store for each block.

Some streets are getting new subsurface water, sewer and drainage lines, and some will be repaved curb to curb. The nature of the work was determined by a detailed assessment of the city’s infrastructure.

“The drainage improvements slated for Bayou St. John and the Fairgrounds offer hope for less flooding — thus less damage — in any future rain event. It’s good to see so many improvements happening at once across our district,” District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso said in a press release.

Other roadwork projects in MId-City include the Hagan-Lafitte drainage project, Mid-City Group A and City Park Group A. The Bayou St. John and Fairgrounds project crosses the boundaries of Districts C and D as well as District A.

District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Morgan Clevenger of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association and District D Councilman Jared Brossett break ground on the roadwork project. (Mayor’s Office photo)

Most streets will just get some patching and overlay. Asphalt streets will be patched in asphalt, and concrete streets get concrete. “Older streets are generally asphalt, newer streets are generally concrete,” said Ramsey Green, the mayoral aide in charge of infrastructure, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “They have generally replaced with the same material.”

Damaged sidewalks and driveway aprons will also be repaired, and ramps will be installed at intersections to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Of the $23 million project, $10 million will come from the city’s Department of Public Works and $13 million from the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

The project is part of the more than $2.3 billion worth of combined street and drainage work across the city, more than 200 individual projects. City officials call it the most comprehensive infrastructure program New Orleans has seen in a generation.

“We have an unprecedented amount of work going on across the city with 76 roadwork projects under construction valued at nearly $479 million,” Green said. “Here in the Bayou St. John, Fairgrounds and 7th Ward neighborhoods, this is the first of projects where a total of $47 million will be invested through the Joint Infrastructure program alone.”

Morgan Clevenger

Speaking at the ceremony, Morgan Clevenger, president of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association, noted that improving the streets improve the quality of life for everyone in the city.

“We all travel these streets,” Clevenger said. “When you have streets, whether they’re in Faubourg St. John or the Fairgrounds or the 7th Ward, that are safer for our persons and our vehicles — so we’re not constantly having to go to the shop and get them fixed — that’s a quality-of-life improvement that we all need.”

The city expects the project to be completed in the summer of 2022.

“When you see your street getting worked on, yes, it’s a temporary inconvenience, but it makes your neighborhood safer,” Green said. “It gives you a better drive home and a better walk with you kids as you’re going to one of our beautiful parks throughout this city.”

Residents who have concerns during the construction by calling 504-658-ROAD (7623) during business hours or sending an email to roadwork@nola.gov.

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