Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other state and local officials on Friday formally marked the completion of roadwork on a street in the West End neighborhood that for many years was notorious even in a city where cracked and cratered streets are almost the norm.
The $12 million reconstruction of Fleur de Lis Drive from Old Hammond Highway to 30th Street wrapped up last month after two years of construction that involved replacing underground utilities lines, rebuilding the roadway and adding new sidewalks and wheelchair-accessible curb ramps.
The smooth, bright pavement that now runs along that stretch is a far cry from the roadway that generated complaints from residents for decades.
“This is always about the people we serve every single day, improving their daily quality of life, and infrastructure plays a critical role in that,” Cantrell said.
The project was funded with money from the city, the Regional Planning Commission and the state Department of Transportation and Development. The project, which was built by Command Construction Industries, involved coordination between those entities as well as the Sewerage & Water Board.
“It is a spirit of collaboration that made this reality happen here,” Cantrell said.
In addition to a smoother roadway, larger drainage pipes installed under the street are expected to improve the area’s ability to handle rainstorms, Public Works Director Keith LaGrange said.
“Now it is on us to repair other streets across the district and city as we rededicate ourselves to rebuilding areas that have been neglected for far too long,” said state Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, who represents the area.
Other projects are underway throughout the city, both through traditional funding sources and a $2.4 billion pot of FEMA money to repair roads and pipes damaged by flooding after Hurricane Katrina.
Projects in New Orleans East and the Lower 9th Ward are expected to wrap up in the near future.
There are 23 road projects worth about $90 million underway across the city, and another 26 are moving toward construction, said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ramsey Green, who oversees infrastructure issues for the Cantrell administration.
Councilman Joe Giarrusso, who represents the district and remembers dodging potholes on his bike while growing up in the area, said the dramatic improvement in the road’s condition is evident from the calls his office is getting.
“This is now a good problem to have because the complaints we’re getting about Fleur de Lis are that people are speeding too much, so that means all the potholes have been taken care of,” Giarrusso said.