Busy Canal St.-City Park Ave. interchange to close July 31

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Hundreds of drivers each day are about to endure a huge inconvenience for a major RTA project in Mid City.

The entire interchange of Canal Boulevard and City Park Avenue will be shut down in two weeks for a streetcar shelter project that's been discussed since the late 90s.

Each day, hundreds of RTA bus and street car riders have to play cat and mouse with cars, trucks and other buses at the very busy intersection where four bus lines converge, often creating a  pedestrian nightmare.

"Yes, it's kinda complicated, especially with kids," said bus rider Claire Trahan.

Bus and streetcar riders must negotiate pedestrian lanes that are not clearly marked, and that's a worry for Trahan and her two girls.

"Slow down when people cross the street," said 8-year-old Makayla Trahan.

But all that's about to change.

"July 31 is the big day when everything starts closing," said Patrice Bell Mercadel with RTA.

It's a project nearly 20 years in the making. The RTA is about spend $10 million to shut down the entire interchange in order to extend the Canal streetcar line one half block to the north side of City Park Avenue. It will mean the  interchange will close for four months. Keeping one lane open, officials determined, would be worse.

"It's going to be four months of construction work versus 18 months," said Bell.

They're also building a new terminal at the end of the streetcar line addition.

"We are providing covered walkways and shelters for people who depend on us," said Bell.

Not only will the shutdown have a big impact on thousands of commuters each day, it could also affect classes at nearby Delgado.

"There's never an excuse to be late for class, but we will work with them, especially for the first week," said Arnel Cosey, Delgado's executive dean.

Delgado officials are warning 10,000  students about the four-month project and potential delays on their website. They are advising them on alternate routes, and they are also considering staggering schedules.

"While we are undergoing this inconvenience, it will be worth it in the end," said Cosey.

Even though her busses will be re-routed during construction, Claire Trahan is excited.

"I think it's awesome, I love it, I think it will make things a lot easier for people on foot," she said.

But drivers who will be kept away from the City Park-Canal interchange will have to allow for extra time as work proceeds.

The City Park Avenue ramps off of I-10 will be affected as well, with one lane being allowed toward Canal St until Sept. 1.

The entire project will last until Thanksgiving weekend.

Go to the RTA's website for more information at .

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.