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Corps Beefs Up Construction in Uptown

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - This is day one for a new, Corps of Engineers project Uptown. It’s more work for contractors and WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano reports it’s more headaches for people who live or drive in the area.

Construction Uptown is expanding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building a $1-billion drainage improvement project and right now they’re beefing up their presence on a busy intersection: Carrollton and Claiborne.

As crews install a new underground canal, Project Manager Lori Wingate says they’ll keep the intersection open and work in phases.

“Right now they have three lanes Northbound on the intersection. We’ll be reducing that to two lanes and shifting the traffic west a little bit to get out of the way of construction,” says Corps Project Manager Lori Wingate.

Dodging construction crews is what residents here say they’ve been doing for years, and the corps says it’ll take another year just for construction to get past the intersection.

Bobby Bosley has been dealing with the construction for two years. He says, “It’s a headache traffic wise, and it seems like it’s taking too long.”

Terry Baskin works in the middle of the mess. He says, “The construction is holding people up and sometimes they be late for work.”

Resident James Johnson says, “It’s two way here, rest of the block is one way, but they just go all kind of ways.”

Dwayne Harrison lives footsteps from the construction, but tries to avoid it. “I go to Earhart,” explains Harrison, “To get right here it’s crazy!”

The entire project includes installing underwater drainage on Napoleon, Jefferson, Claiborne, and up next is Louisiana. The Corps says Claiborne & Napoleon Avenues should be complete in 2016. Jefferson Avenue should be complete in 2017, and work on Louisiana Avenue is slated to end in 2018.

Some residents wonder where the water will go? The Corps says water on Louisiana, Napoleon, and Jefferson will go to the drainage station on Broad and end up in the Lake Pontchartrain. The water on Claiborne will drain into the Monticello Canal and go out to the 17th Street Canal.