By Jesse Baum, Mid-City Messenger
A new pedestrian bridge crossing the canal on the Lafitte Greenway on North Lopez Street is in the works. The construction is set to begin this month and conclude in late summer.
The new bridge is designed to enhance walkability and connectivity between the blocks to the east and west of the Greenway.
The Lafitte Greenway is a place for New Orleanians to work out, bike safely off of the streets, play and walk their dogs — and even attend yoga classes and film screenings.
The construction project will also include dismantling the existing pedestrian bridge at the site, replacing the catch-basin drains, constructing new concrete and asphalt pedestrian approaches, installing a drainage culvert, and installing safety barricades to prevent motor vehicles from entering the bridge. The completed bridge will be fully ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible.
The budget for the project is approximately $450,000, with 20 percent of the funding coming from New Orleans bonds and 80 percent from Louisiana Federal Highway Administration funds. The design was completed by Rahman and Associates, and Cycle Construction Co. was awarded the bid to complete construction of the bridge.
The Office of Neighborhood Engagement and RoadworkNOLA held a virtual meeting about the bridge construction on Thursday evening (Feb. 11). Dawne Massey, who does community outreach with RoadworkNOLA; Josh Scott, the Project Manager; and Stephen Mosgrove, a neighborhood liaison with the Neighborhood Engagement Office, co-hosted the meeting.
The online meeting covered COVID-19 protocol measures that will be observed for the safety of the workers on-site, such as a single point of entry, hand washing stations and temperature checks. The meeting itself was held online to avoid the risk of spreading COVID-19, and community members could view a visual presentation in the online meeting, though some participants also called in using their phones. Attendees could ask questions using the virtual chat feature, or by texting the meeting hosts.
After the presentation, the hosts took some time to answer the questions in the chat forums.
One attendee, John Hopper, asked whether the Greenway’s paved path will be open throughout construction.Josh Scott, the project manager, answered tentatively that he believes there is a stipulation in the contract that the path must remain open during construction.
“That was something that we discussed, even if it’s not a stipulation in the contract, we will do what we can to make sure it stays open throughout construction,” he added.
The only exception may be close to the finishing point, when the paths on the bridge and the Greenway would finally link. However, Scott said, they will find a workaround to ensure continued use of the path.
Camley, with the Friends of the Lafitte Greenway, asked if the drainage culvert that would be added will add to the Greenway’s impressive ability to retain stormwater. Scott replied that he will work with the engineer to make sure that the culvert is positioned to properly drain water and work with the bioswale.
With public green space providing much-needed places to safely socialize during the pandemic, the project will hopefully add to the appeal and accessibility of the Lafitte Greenway.
The construction schedule means that the work will go from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, Monday to Friday. It is possible work may occur on Saturdays, if weather and other factors delay the construction.
Resident Daniel Smith asked, “Can you reiterate to the contractor not to begin before 7 a.m.?”
Massey replied swiftly: “We will remind the contractor not to begin making the construction part of everybody’s life before 7 a.m.”