If you’ve gone anywhere near downtown in recent weeks, you’ve experienced the city’s growing pains first hand.
It’s been slow-going for both drivers and pedestrians, as the city gets a make-over for Super Bowl 2013.
Downtown New Orleans is under construction to say the least.
“I think it’s an absolute mess,” pedestrian Amy Dye said.
Crews are hard at work; and there are plenty of cones, barrels, and barricades, to prove it.
Traffic is being detoured at just about every turn.
“Never thought I’d be driving down the middle of Canal Street in traffic, never the less,” motorist Robert Dussom said.
“Very painful,” motorist Claude Stewart said.
“I actually have to come through this traffic every day to work, and right now whereas my commute was 15-minutes, it’s now about 30 to 45,” Dye said.
Call it the detour to progress.
All part of the city’s recovery effort to rehabilitate and restore the downtown corridor in time for the 2013 Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.
The clock is ticking. Only 66 days left.
“I really don’t feel like it’s going to be ready in time for Mardi Gras or the super bowl,” Stewart said.
The host city has to be ready.
From the looks of it, that’s a tall order, but city leaders are optimistic.
“Be patient and you’ll see us make these deadlines,” Cedric Grant said.
Deputy mayor Cedric Grant says construction is moving along on schedule.
“We’re kind of in the final construction stages,” Grant said. “By the end of Christmas you’ll begin to see clean up and right after the beginning of the year we’ll put the finishing touches on things and be ready well in advance of super bowl.”
He says the Loyola Street Car Project is on track to be completed mid-January and fully available for use in advance of the big events.
“They got a lot to clean up and finish but I think they’ll get it done,” Dussom said.
In the French Quarter — the bulk of street and sidewalk repairs is complete.
The remaining work will be finished mid-December.
A repair project targeting the most deteriorated sidewalks in the CBD is coming along.
And let’s not forget the city’s streetlight restoration.
There are thousands of streetlights downtown.
Only 662 outages remain to be restored. As with everything else, hopefully lights will be fully restored in time for the scheduled events expected to pump millions into the local economy.
“It’s new Orleans, I don’t think anything is ever done on time but in this case I think the stakes are very large so I think they will get it together,” Dye said.
Deputy Mayor Grant says city-wide capital improvement projects will continue well after the Super Bowl.