N.O. residents eager for promised record amount of street, infrastructure work

N.O. residents eager for promised record amount of street, infrastructure work

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mayor Mitch Landrieu's 2017 capital budget anticipates record spending for street, drainage, water and sewer construction. And residents in areas with bad streets hope their turn for improvements comes sooner rather than later.

"From here all the way down, over here you can see the lighted spots, all the way here I filled with cement, all the way down," said Ronnie Owens.

He lives on a short street - Panama Court - and has taken to repairing it himself with concrete and other materials.

"I put gravel here, all the way here, and then my neighbors started asking me to help them, so I put gravel so they wouldn't have the big holes that would sit. It's like a river here," Owens said.

Constance Johnson also lives on Panama Court. She believes a hole at the intersection of Grape Street and Panama damaged her car.

"It's just squeaking so I'm trying to see under it now to see what's the problem with it," Johnson said.

Mayor Landrieu's 2017 capital budget includes almost a half-billion dollars to address some of the problems around the city.

"We're going to make a record $480 million investment in street, drainage, water and sewer construction," said Landrieu.

And over the next eight years, his administration is promising $2.4 billion worth of work with more than 200 projects that will affect every neighborhood. It's an aggressive vision with a goal of one construction bid opening each week beginning in 2017 and running through 2020.

"The projects that are coming out in the first 30 vary in size, depending on the scope. Most of them involve patching incidental road repairs. There are a few that have paving or resurfacing of streets," said City Public Works Director Mark Jernigan.

He said more involved projects are also planned.

According to the he city's online tool, Marlyville and the Fontainbleau neighborhood are in line for $18 million to $20 million in work starting in July 2017, and the work will continue for several years. The project will involve work by Public Works and the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.

"The work in the neighborhood will run the gamut from incidental patching repairs to some of the work will include water line replacements, sewer line replacements, sewer repairs, drainage repairs, and then paving of streets, all the way up to the full reconstruction of streets in some cases," Jernigan said.

Owens' particular street looks to come later in the project that begins next year. It could be 2021 before it begins.

"I'll say I've been here 50 years, and in the 50 years I've seen them come and just put tar down twice in 50 years, so I'm happy any way it goes. I'll do it myself," said Owens.

"Just let them come on with it,  because there ain't nothing like tearing your cars up," said Johnson, with a laugh.

The city points to numerous projects that have already been completed.

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