If you live in St. Bernard Parish or the Lower Ninth Ward, getting into the city is still a daily frustration. after more than two months, the Claiborne Avenue Bridge remains closed and traffic is still a nightmare. Work to repaint the bridge was supposed to last three weeks back in August when it started. But it’s still closed.
“We’ve got to have patience-there’s no other way,” said David Hernandez as he waited in snarled traffic. “It’s a pain in the butt.”
Right now, there’s basically one way from the Lower Nine and St. Bernard Parish directly into downtown New Orleans-the nearby St. Claude Avenue Bridge. And when it’s raised to let barges pass, which is frequently, traffic can back up for as much as an hour.
And it’s more than just a commuting headache. Emergency vehicles, like ambulances and police units often get caught in the mess, creating a public safety hazard for people who live in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Back in August, DOTD said the bridge would be closed for three weeks and reopen before Labor Day. When that didn’t happen, they said it would reopen by mid-October. It’s now mid-October and the bridge remains closed.
Calls to DOTD were not returned Monday. But to be fair, Monday is a legal holiday.