Stalled Irish Channel street construction frustrates residents, businesses

Stalled Irish Channel street construction frustrates residents, businesses

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “It’s like a little roller coaster, it goes down onto my street, coasts a little bit and then you incline again,” said Lee Lee Barahona.

While that may sound like a fun ride, it’s anything but for pleasant street resident Lee Lee Barahona. She especially worries walking to her car in the early morning hours, when the construction forces her to park blocks away.

“It’s definitely my biggest fear because I’m small, it’s also late, so I’m like the biggest target,” said Barahona.

She says the construction crews showed up in February but have since abandoned progress.

“Not happy about that at all, I wish they would pick it up and finish what they started,” said Barahona.

The exposed streets and gravel aren’t just causing headaches for residents, area businesses say the stalled construction is another unwanted hurdle after surviving the Covid shutdowns.

“This is almost like the cherry on top situation, it’s frustrating but I think there’s one thing this entire pandemic has taught us you have to keep moving forward,” said Miel co-owner, Janice Montoya.

Business partners and partners in real life, Janice Montoya and Alex Peyroux thought they could handle the road work in front of their brewery, Miel but when weeks turned into months, they say it’s now costing them business.

“We just want an update just what’s going on,” they said. According to the city’s roadwork website, both of these projects aren’t slated to be done until the spring of 2022.

“We partner with food trucks, it’s mutually beneficial, it’s not just us who are surviving on that income it’s also all the partners we bring in all the events we have there,” said Peyroux.

“At the end of the day we know the improvement of the streets are vital,” said Councilman Jay Banks.

Explaining the city’s current methodology for these projects in his district, Banks says crews dig once and tackle all the issues under the street at the same time but says he knows it’s an inconvenience.

“That may make construction a little bit longer but I think the benefit is much better in the end… I know the people inconvenienced don’t wanna hear that but the truth of the matter is we really do need to get the infrastructure repaired and get the streets fixed for not only the people who live near it but everyone else who may use it,” said Banks.

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