Workers rip up parts of recently-replaced Napoleon Avenue neutral ground

Workers tear up part of the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground on Jan. 2, 2018. The work is reportedly to install a fiber optic line, but it frustrated neighbors who lived with noisy construction for years as a major drainage project was completed.
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NEW ORLEANS -- Heavy equipment is back on Napoleon Avenue in Uptown.

"It's ridiculous," Uptown resident Richard Cooper said Tuesday as a crew began to dig up the brand-new neutral ground between Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue.

"Okay, here we go again," neighbor Jason Beckhouse said. "I knew they were going to have to dig it up again."

The area where crews returned is the same one that was under construction for a major drainage project for years.

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"I thought it was going to be completed," neighbor Alexis Claire Tripplehorn added. "When they popped up again, I was a little shocked, disappointed and surprised."

The crew is apparently digging a trench to install a fiber optic cable that will eventually synchronize the traffic lights along Napoleon.

While there are new markings on the pavement, it's unclear whether the work will require any street closures.

"Thousands and thousands of people come to watch Mardi Gras parades on Napoleon Avenue and St. Charles and yep … here they go digging it up again," Beckhouse said.

The first Carnival krewes take to Napoleon in a month. The timing of the work frustrated neighbors who were glad to see the crews leave after years of work and disruptions.

"They just put in all this grass a year ago and it's now solidified and everything, now they’re digging it up and it's going to be a quagmire I'm sure during the Mardi Gras season," Cooper said.

Neighbors said they want to know why the work couldn't have been done earlier in conjunction with the drainage project.

"It's always something," Tripplehorn said. "They finish one project and they start another one in the exact same location."

"Nobody knows what the right hand or the left hand are doing," Cooper said.

"Do the job right the first time and then you won't have to redo it over and over again," Beckhouse said.

City Hall late Tuesday evening released the following statement: "During inspection of the Napoleon Avenue SELA project, DPW (the Department of Public Works) discovered that the conduit for the traffic signal interconnect between St. Charles and Magazine that was in place prior to construction had not been replaced. The Corps and its contractor are in the process of replacing the conduit which should be compete by the end of January."

Prior Uptown drainage construction coverage:

How much longer? See the status of SELA construction projects around town

Uptown neighbors say SELA construction has damaged their homes

Uptown construction forces Irish Channel parade to change routes