Corps of Engineers prepares for Uptown canal construction

Published: Mar. 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2013 at 10:12 PM CDT
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New Orleans, La. - A project designed to help prevent flooding will force big changes to two major thoroughfares in New Orleans' Uptown area.

Next week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take initial steps to construct underground drainage canals along stretches of Jefferson Avenue and Prytania Street. The first step of the $44.8 million project involves clearing the Jefferson Avenue neutral ground of all trees.

FOX 8 received this news release from the Corps Tuesday afternoon:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District recently awarded a 38-month contract to Louisiana-based Cajun Constructors, Inc. for increased drainage along Jefferson Ave. in Orleans Parish. The contract, which is part of the Southeast Louisiana Project (SELA), will reduce the risk of damages from a 10-year r ainfall event. A 10-year event is a rain storm that has a 10 percent chance of happening in a given year and equates to approximately nine inches of rain over a 24-hour period for our area. 

The $44.8 million contract calls for constructing approximately 3,700 feet of underground drainage canal along Jefferson Ave. from Dryades St. to Constance St. and 1,300 feet of underground canal along Prytania St. between Nashville Ave. and Jefferson Ave. The work also includes a crossing of the street car rail on St. Charles Ave.   

Before construction activities can begin next month, a licensed arborist will clear the neutral ground of all trees and shrubs on Jefferson Ave. between Danneel St. and Magazine St.  The approximately two week process will begin during the week of April 1. Necessary tree removal actions have been coordinated with the Corps' partner, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, as well as the City of New Orleans' Parks and Parkways department. Soon after the project is complete in the spring of 2016, landscaping will be restored in this area. The Corps will coordinate with the city of New Orleans and interested residents in developing a landscape design.

The contract includes a traffic control plan fully coordinated with the City of New Orleans, Department of Public Works (DPW). Traffic will be maintained on Jefferson Ave. for the most part, with southbound traffic detouring to Nashville Ave. for canal construction and northbound traffic remaining on Jefferson Ave. All traffic will be detoured from Prytania St. during canal construction. Any modifications to the plan will be done in coordination with the City of New Orleans DPW. 

The Corps will continue to work closely with its partners at the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans on the SELA program. To date, a total of fifteen SELA contracts have been awarded in Orleans Parish, with work completed on nine of those projects. All scheduled SELA work in Orleans Parish should be finished in 2018.