NEW ORLEANS -- A popular patch of green space along the Orleans Canal in the Lake Vista neighborhood of New Orleans now resembles a construction site. Neighbors say it seems like the grassy park along Marconi Drive disappeared overnight.
"By the time we got a certified mail indicating what the purpose of this was, the construction was halfway through," said Dr. Likith Reddy who lives across the street from the site.
"Unfortunately, we have to live with this noise in the background as well as the eyesore and we're not able to utilize the green space in front of our house," said Reddy.
Contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers took over the park about a month ago. Rocks and gravel now cover the lush grass Lake Vista families have enjoyed for generations.
The temporary maintenance facility supports work now being done to install permanent pumps on the 17th Street, Orleans and London Avenue canals. Those outfall canals drain rain water from city streets into Lake Pontchartrain.
"The construction is expected to last about 44 months," said Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ricky Boyett. "At that point, what we'll do is return it the conditions that were there before we began."
According to the Corps, steps are being taken to mitigate noise and other impacts to the neighbors, especially at night.
While a large dump truck was seen heading down Marconi Drive, contractors have orders to stay off that road and out of the neighborhood.
"The idea is to keep them as much as humanly possible on Robert E Lee or Lakeshore Drive," said Boyett.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the site will be a 24-hour operation.
Neighbors say while they'll miss the green space and potentially the quiet, they say if it leads to better flood protection in their neighborhood, they'll learn to live with it.
"Whatever is happening here it's going to be good for us and good for New Orleans, but until then, I guess we have to tolerate this," said Reddy.
"It really brings that permanent long-term risk reduction," said Boyett. "It's critical to providing 100-year risk reduction to New Orleans."
The Army Corps of Engineers has a construction impact hotline you can call with questions or comments about the work. The number is 1-877-427-0345.