NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The busiest highway into New Orleans from the East may be the darkest.
“It’s a main corridor as we all know, and I’m sure it’s tens of thousands of cars that pass here on a daily basis. I can imagine if they’re feeling as I do with the uneasiness of the darkness in so many places,” Alfred Green said.
The New Orleans East resident is talking about Interstate 10 through New Orleans East.
The FOX 8 Defenders first interviewed Green about lighting concerns in 2014 and then again in 2016.
“It lit a fire, and they did what they said they were gonna do from Paris Road I think, to the High Rise, but it didn’t last long,” he said.
The City back then, after our report, told us crews had repaired hundreds of lights along I-10, but also that thieves had stolen the wiring in many of the light poles. Fast forward to 2019, and Green points to more areas of darkness.
"I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden, all of the lights are gone again,” he said.
When he couldn't get answers, he turned to the FOX 8 Defenders for the third time in six years.
“The lighting had to be de-energized and demolished so the new lighting could be put in place,” said state Department of Transportation Assistant District Administrator of Operations Scott Boyle.
Boyle also said DOTD is working on two significant lighting projects on I-10 in New Orleans East funded by the state and federal government. One of those projects is underway at Morrison Road, and the other project is underway at Read Boulevard, replacing the entire lighting infrastructure on the ramps and within the median.
“We currently have an older system using high pressure sodium fixtures. We’re gonna upgrade to LED, it’s more cost efficient and it has a longer service life to it,” Boyle said.
The upgrades at Read Blvd. will stretch from Bundy Rd. to Wright Rd. and at Morrison Rd., from Dwyer Rd. to Mayo Blvd.
High mast lighting will also be installed at both interchanges.
“These are extra high high poles that radiate more intense lighting over a broader area,” Boyle said.
DOTD anticipates the project will be completed next January, so until then, Boyle says there will be areas that are not lit.
“It’s not feasible to put temporary lighting in place because of the way the conduit runs and the number of utilities that have to be rebuilt,” he said.
While he’s not thrilled he’ll have to wait another year, Alfred Green is thankful the projects will enhance New Orleans East in the future.
“Hopefully this time it’s not just being repaired, it’ll be fixed,” Green said.
Boyle believes Green and others who travel the corridor will be pleasantly surprised.
According to DOTD, the Morrison interchange will cost $1.2 million and the Read Blvd. project will cost $1.35 million. Once they’re complete, DOTD says the city ultimately will be responsible for maintenance and operations.
If you’ve got a consumer issue you’d like us to look into, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women or NCJW or fill out our online complaint form.