City points to progress on road projects as residents voice frustration

Deputy CAO Joe Threats says approximately 50 projects are underway throughout the city
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 7:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Road work in and around New Orleans neighborhoods is easy to find. And as some residents voice frustration over torn-up streets and sidewalks Mayor Cantrell’s administration says progress is being made residents’ inconvenience is taken into account as they move forward.

Joseph, Octavia, Burdette, Carrollton Avenue, and Lowerline are some of the streets where road projects are underway.

Niki Pena walked his dog along St. Charles Avenue. He has navigated around road construction for a while.

“It can be inconvenient sometimes, but I feel like the progress that has been made is really nice because, you know, less potholes,” said Pena. “You just kind of have to plan it for it, you know, if your normal commute takes a certain amount of time just tack on some time to that because there’s probably going to be traffic because people are trying to avoid all the construction.”

Along Garfield Street, resident Jason Anseman’s sentiments about the ongoing infrastructure work weren’t as kind.

“You’re tearing your car up, you’re tearing your car up bad, every, when it rains over here, every time it rains you got four or five people get stuck over here,” he said.

FOX 8 got an update from city hall on the myriad projects underway.

Joseph Threat is Deputy Chief Administrative Office for Infrastructure for the city.

“Right now, we have approximately 50 contracts, 50 projects in construction throughout the city and those vary from 50 to a hundred blocks to 200 blocks,” said Threat.

He said they are proceeding with residents’ concerns in mind.

“So, what we’re trying to do is after we work our way out of Waves 1 and 2, give the residents some relief from these long construction projects we’ve had in their neighborhoods, to finish these Wave 1 and 2 projects and before we move into Wave 3 and 4 we want to strategically map those out so we don’t shut down neighborhoods, schools or businesses,” said Threat.

FEMA allocated $2 billion for post-Hurricane Katrina road and pipe repairs.

Threat was asked how much the city has used of that sum.

“We’re probably at about $600 million with the ones we have in design we’re running towards a billion,” said Threat.

He says he goes to neighborhoods as work is underway and often interacts with residents. “Residents do reach out and when I come out on a project site they do come out and talk to me and I enjoy the communication with the residents. I just want to let them know that the priority for me is to finish the neighborhoods that have been a disadvantage and troubling to them and disrupting their lives for so long,” Threat stated.

Inflation has impacted the work as well.

“With inflation indicators and the time it’s taken us to get materials, the valves, the pipes that we need to finish construction have long lead time,” stated Threat.

Still, he is optimistic about finishing the work.

“I’ve got a good feeling, we’re moving forward. We have Wave 1 and 2 projects going right now. When this administration came on board all 52 projects were in design for Wave 1 and 2 and we’re just trying to close these neighborhoods up before we move forward. We still have another 145 projects for design,” said Threat.

And people who are not already familiar with where the roadwork is taking place, there is help on site. Residents can type in an address, or a neighborhood to get information.

“We’re trying to have continuing improvement in the Department of Public Works, you know, we’ve reorganized, we’re bringing in a senior program management officer to help us with our project scheduling,” said Threat.

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