Village De L’Est roadwork causing safety concerns for neighbors

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Drivers heading through Village De L’Est down Lourdes St. will have to watch out for blocks of roadwork, especially when turning on Brittany Court where a massive truck-sized hole is.

“A car can fall in that hole at night,” neighbor Elizabeth Scott said. “There is no barrier. The hole is deep and someone could really get killed or whatever in that hole.”

Scott says she’s frustrated with the construction project that wraps around her block and ends near the front of her house.

“When I walk out my house every morning I feel like crying because I’m looking at mud, sand, dirt,” she said.

Scott says work in the area started back in July with the hopes of repaving all of Brittany Court, and it’s something neighbors were aware would happen.

“They had three groups of work A, B and C work and this is the C work,” President of Village De L’Est Improvement Association Edward Blouin said. “We were glad that it started because we want our streets repaired. And as long as they were working everything was fine.”

But lately, folks say things have come to a stop.

“They have not been out here for the past three weeks,” Scott said.

A phone operator at Roadwork NOLA says the next step in the project is working on water and drainage improvements. They say stormwater has caused “unforeseen challenges” and are looking at possibly using temporary asphalt binder to allow access to the street until construction is able to resume.

“We’ve advocated for the removal of equipment in this area to alleviate congestion,” their tweet says.

Crews have to test for any water leaks before making the improvements, and the operator says that is near impossible to do if there is rainwater on site.

Still, neighbors are tired of the lack of progress.

“You left the machinery out there. You left the pipes out there. You left the dirt and debris,” Scott said.

Some of the older neighbors say getting in and out of their homes is a challenge, including one neighbor that lives a few houses down from Scott. Scott says she sees her neighbor and RTA driver struggling to get to doctor’s appointments because of the construction.

“She’s in her 90s,” Scott says. “They have to wheel this lady down the street on the corner to get to her.”

Even the mail has trouble reaching homes, with some families asking carriers to keep envelopes at the mail center or with a nearby neighbor that carriers can reach. Cars are also being parked blocks away from homes impacted by the construction or in other neighbors’ driveways.

It’s such a headache, some people don’t even want to stay through the project.

“I moved in with my fiancée,” Blouin said. “I was prepared to move out for the next six months because that’s how long it’s supposed to take for the whole project. Hopefully, with the exposure on TV, it will get some people back out to work.”

Neighbors are also planning on going to Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Community Budget Meeting on August 15 to voice their concerns to her, Councilman Oliver Thomas and other city officials. The meeting will be at Household of Faith Church with the resource fair starting at 5 p.m. and the town hall starting at 6 p.m.

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