NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Business owners and area commuters say something must be done about a dangerous stretch of road in New Orleans East. They say Almonaster Drive near Old Gentilly Road is riddled with potholes and is missing street lines. It used to just be a danger for your car, but now folks say drivers are at risk.
“I'm afraid someone's going to get really, really hurt,” said business owner Larry Dillon.
Dillon has a business on Almonaster Drive. He says the stretch of road near Old Gentilly is so neglected, people have been driving the wrong way on Almonaster to avoid damaging their vehicles.
“It’s a safety hazard,” said Dillon. “That could cause a real serious accident.”
“You gotta weave in and out, in and out around holes,” agreed local employee Billy Smith. “If you started there with a brand new vehicle and went the whole length of Almonaster, I believe you would actually have front end problems at the end of it.”
To area locals, it’s nothing new. As soon as you say “Almonaster,” they roll their eyes and groan.
“It just gets worse and worse,” said Smith.
FOX 8 spoke to drivers who regularly travel Almonaster. They say part of the road was recently paved, but a good portion remains untouched. It’s a stretch they say has steadily fallen into deeper disrepair, and the situation is now critical.
“Hard to believe they let it decay like it is now,” said truck driver Lennet Forte. “I’m sure the truckers would like to see something happen to it.”
This part of Almonaster is not far from the Old Gentilly area where a massive pile of tires impeded traffic and caused the city to limit access. It has spurred some area commuters and employees to suggest that the entire area needs more attention.
“Just seems like New Orleans East is forgotten about,” Smith said.
FOX 8 spoke to City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen, who represents the district. She says she’s aware of the issues and is working to address them.
Dillon says he's eager to work with city leaders like Nguyen to ensure the safety of his workers and anyone else traveling the stretch of road. He plans to meet with her next week.
“We need someone to recognize we do have businesses in this area and we need folks to help us out and get this taken care of,” said Dillon. “Hopefully, we can get this done to where we can prevent anyone from getting hurt.”
Nguyen did not give us a time table for repairs.
According to a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, The Department of Public Works has identified funding to make roadway improvements in this area. She says planning and design phases for repairs including drainage improvements, paving, striping, etc., will take several years to complete.