Freret businesses express concerns with road construction

Amy Ngo

The+new+%242.2+billion+dollar+project+in+the+Freret+neighborhood+will+stretch+the+area+from+South+Claiborne+Avenue+to+La+Salle+Street+and+from+Jefferson+Avenue+to+Napoleon+Avenue.+The+project+aims+to+repair+six+watermains%2C+repave+streets+and+sidewalks%2C+and+install+handicap+accessible+ramps.+
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Freret businesses express concerns with road construction

The new $2.2 billion dollar project in the Freret neighborhood will stretch the area from South Claiborne Avenue to La Salle Street and from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue. The project aims to repair six watermains, repave streets and sidewalks, and install handicap accessible ramps.

The new $2.2 billion dollar project in the Freret neighborhood will stretch the area from South Claiborne Avenue to La Salle Street and from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue. The project aims to repair six watermains, repave streets and sidewalks, and install handicap accessible ramps.

Courtesy Roadwork NOLA

The new $2.2 billion dollar project in the Freret neighborhood will stretch the area from South Claiborne Avenue to La Salle Street and from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue. The project aims to repair six watermains, repave streets and sidewalks, and install handicap accessible ramps.

Courtesy Roadwork NOLA

Courtesy Roadwork NOLA

The new $2.2 billion dollar project in the Freret neighborhood will stretch the area from South Claiborne Avenue to La Salle Street and from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue. The project aims to repair six watermains, repave streets and sidewalks, and install handicap accessible ramps.

Amy Ngo, Pack News

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Michelle Ingram shot her arm in the air to ask another question at the Roadwork NOLA community meeting adressing a road construction project near Freret Street on Jan. 8 at Ochsner Baptist Hospital. 

“What’s going to be different this time around?” Ingram asked. 

Ingram is the owner of Zeus’ Place on the corner of Freret and Cadiz streets. Just five years ago, Ingram fell victim to  repairs that were supposed to be beneficial. 

“One morning they tore up the sidewalk literally to the front door of the business with no warning whatsoever. We had problems with them shutting off the water too. They said they would give 48 hours notice, but apparently it just wasn’t possible,” Ingram said. 

Ingram along with around 20 others voiced their concerns with the new $2.2 billion, FEMA funded road construction project called Freret Group A.

Freret Group A covers the area between South Claiborne Avenue and LaSalle Street and from Jefferson to Napoleon avenues. The plans outlined at the community meeting included six water main replacements, street and sidewalk re-pavements and installation of handicap accessible ramps. The project is expected to start in late January and be completed in a year, according to city contractors. 

Residents and business owners at the community meeting haggled for a timeline from the city of what streets would come first.

“Things change everyday. The weather plays a part. Some things are unexpected. We can’t give you expectations that we can’t promise to meet,” said Nakelia Polk, outreach manager at Roadwork NOLA. 

Another issue Ingram and her neighbors felt needed to be addressed was the construction impacts on community events.

“Last time, we had the big community event, Freret Street Festival, that they knew was coming up. The night before the festival, when were were about to have 25,000 people on the street, they were still making repairs for public safety concerns, so yes. I would say I’m pretty concerned especially with Mardi Gras around the corner.” 

Representatives from the Neighborhood Engagement office were also present to reassure residents, explaining meetings will be held monthly to keep Roadwork NOLA, contractors and police up-to-date with events coming up in order to accommodate the community. Their Neighborhood Engagement representative would act as a liaison between the community and the city. 

With this new program in place, Ingram felt she may actually see change this second time around. 

“The (consulting) group was unresponsive. There were a lot of things left undone last time. I am trying to stay hopeful that this new system with Roadwork NOLA and community management system will help,” said Ingram. 

An equipment staging location hasn’t been decided yet, which is also raising concerns for residents and business owners alike. 

Zeus' Place sits on the corner of Freret and Cadiz streets.

Amy Ngo
Zeus’ Place, at the corner of Freret and Cadiz streets, will see its second round of road construction in five years. The $2.2 billion construction project in the Freret neighborhood is scheduled to begin in late January and last a year.

A map showing the plans of the Freret Group A construction project.

Courtesy Roadwork NOLA
The new $2.2 billion dollar project in the Freret neighborhood will stretch the area from South Claiborne Avenue to La Salle Street and from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue. The project aims to repair six watermains, repave streets and sidewalks, and install handicap accessible ramps.