The Sugar Bowl is over. Now attention turns to New Orleans’ next big event: the Super Bowl, set to kickoff exactly one month from today. But preparations for the big game are causing headaches worse than a New Year’s hangover.
The Canal Streetcar line is shut down today, and will remain closed through Sunday as workers scramble to finish the new Loyola line, which will tie into the Canal Street line. Traffic is snarled around the construction project, and commuters have to switch to buses along Canal Street until next week.
This Loyola extension project has been in the works for two years and RTA officials say it will finally be finished January 15, just a week and a half before the start of Super Bowl week.
“It’s a pain in the butt, but they’ll get their plan together,” groused Manuel Brown, a regular commuter along the Canal Street line. ”What they’re doing is good, but it’s for tourists and money. And we ain’t gonna see any of it.” His sentiments were echoed by many who have endured months of closed streets and traffic tie-ups throughout the CBD.
The French Quarter hasn’t been spared traffic headaches either. Crews are putting finishing touches on an $11-million street repaving project that brought new, smooth surfaces to 8 major street in the Quarter. Construction launched last July and is just now wrapping up after months of traffic and parking issues throughout the city’s main tourism neighborhood.
City Hall and RTA officials promise it will all be over in a couple of weeks. Everything’s on schedule, they say, for a smooth Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. And after that, locals will be left with a shiny, spiffed up downtown.