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French Quarter roadwork impacts nearby businesses

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City contract construction crews are once again tearing up streets in the French Quarter, including portions of Bourbon Street. The work has some business owners wondering why.

Roadwork is taking place in the 800 block of Bourbon St., an area that had just been repaired not long ago.

“It’s so frustrating,” said Josh Duffy, owner of Bourbon Pride, a souvenir shop on Bourbon St. The construction project is only feet away from his shop and he said projects like this are concerning because the City never gave business owners like him a heads up.

“We have no completion date for us to go off of, and so we’re always just kind of worried what’s going to happen next with the City. Like, we don’t even know what this road work is about right now,” said Duffy.

Acting Director for the Department of Public Works Josh Hartley said the City notified residents and businesses about that specific project in April.

“Anytime we’re going to have an intersection closure or an impact to the street, a notice is being sent out by the Road Work NOLA team here at the city,” said Hartley.

He said crews are working on pavement and sidewalk restoration as it pertains to utility updates, like fiberoptic companies wanting to install new services. On Conti Street between Bourbon and Royal streets, an entire block is torn up and fenced off.

Hartley said improvements there are being made to sewer, water and drainage, similar to the Bourbon St. phase one and two projects years ago. This includes pavement restoration, sidewalk improvements along with ADA curb ramps and new utility services.

“The City is working on a ‘dig once’ policy. We kind of started that with these projects where we put utilities on notice,” said Hartley. “Putting a time frame after physical construction is complete that no other work can take place after that.”

Unsure of what that looks like just yet, Hartley said this policy should ease some of the frustrations residents and businesses may have.

Back at Bourbon Pride, Duffy just wants the City to be more transparent with projects, especially ones that affect local businesses.

“If you’re gonna keep breaking up the concrete, at least do everything at once and let’s get done with it. Let’s be finished with it. Let’s get back to business,” he said. “Do it right the first time.”

The project on the 800 block of Bourbon St. is expected to be complete by the end of this week. As for the 700 block of Conti between Bourbon and Royal streets, the Hartley said they will move to an additional block once the 700 block is complete and completion is expected for the fall weather permitting.

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