RTA: After numerous delays, St. Charles Ave. streetcar repairs nearly complete

FOX 8 photos
FOX 8 photos

At Saint Charles and Louisiana Avenue Thursday, riders poured out of streetcars every few minutes before packing into buses and continuing on.

It's a necessary disruption as streetcar line repairs continue more than three years after the project began.

"[The transfers are] quite confusing with all the construction going on," said Latisha McGee, a frequent streetcar rider. "You never know what you really do. You never know what bus that you're going to have to transfer, or where exactly you should go."

Thursday, workers kept plugging away, trying to complete the project that has suffered plenty of problems.

"We've run into challenges that delayed the process," said RTA Spokeswoman Patrice Bell Mercadel.

Mercadel points to contractor issues early on, rough weather and big events in the city as factors in the timeline being pushed back.

However, she said the end is near.

"We know that [the project] has created some inconvenience for our riders, but that's part of the price of progress and making certain they are safe in the long run," Mercadel said.

According to Mercadel, the current construction zone between Washington Avenue and Jackson Avenue represents the final stretch of repairs. She said work should be completed by the end of next month.

Some business owners hope that holds true.

"We've been given so many dates. I think it all sort of rolls off our shoulders when we hear it and we just hope for it to be over," said Rob Gerhart, Owner of Louisiana Pizza Kitchen on Carrollton.

Gerhart said the project has cut down on visitors to the Riverbend area since 2011, thus hurting his bottom line.

"We're still probably off like 15 percent of what we should be. So, it's been major," he said. "It's been a long three years for us and the whole neighborhood. I know we're anxious to get the project over with. We've seen some improvement with the influx of tourists in the area, but it's summer now. I think we're all a little anxious and nervous about what possibly could happen, so we're ready for it to be over with."

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