Royal Street residents pass the sandbags due to road complaints - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Royal Street residents pass the sandbags due to road complaints

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New Orleans, La. - Royal Street residents passed out sandbags Friday to help ease a flood threat they claim was caused by last year's street repaving.

Residents say the city and it's contractors have done very little about the problem FOX 8 reported last year.

"In a heavy rain, water gets in my hall," said Royal Street resident Mercedes Whitehall.

The contractor, HNTB, which paved Royal, said they didn't raise it any higher.

But residents determined to prove the roadbed is much higher took out a two by four, a ruler, and a level and found that the bed at the crown is eight and a half inches higher than the sidewalk.

They say it's now forcing their sidewalks to become gutters, and putting water into places they've never had water before.

"For the first time since having Café Amelia, the water was into the restaurant. We never had any water of any kind," said owner Susan Hoffman.

The height of the road, at it's crown, causes trucks to tip perilously close to historic balconies.

"I had never had any overtopping for any storm, but now we have it," said Hoffman.

And some of the water never goes away creating a haven for mosquitoes.

The city has made some improvements in areas where there are no balcony supports, but where there are balcony supports, they've done nothing making a bad situation worse.

The contractor also carved out excess asphalt around a drain, but residents say it's not enough.

"It went through Betsy, Camille, and Katrina and never flooded, but it's gonna flood this time," said Frances Swigart.

Until something is done, they will continue to pass out sandbags to try and prevent their homes and businesses from flooding in normal rains.

"I've had water in my hall four times since late April," said Whitecloud.

She fears without road or gutter improvements, things will only get worse

Royal Street was resurfaced about a month before the Super Bowl through the "Pathways to Progress" program.

City spokesman Tyler Gamble says measures were taken to mitigate the flood risk and the city continues to monitor drainage conditions.

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