Jefferson Parish Council urging DOTD to fix Harvey Tunnel

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 10 at 7:21 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

HARVEY, La. -- The tunnel under the Harvey Canal in West Jefferson is showing it's age.

It was built in 1957, and according to people who travel through it on a regular basis, the crumbling conditions inside include a few leaks.

"It's like a splatter of rain once you hit and it is a distraction for the driver because you don't really expect it when it does happen," said Diane Haydel, whose family owns a recreational boat sales business on the Harvey Canal.

Recently the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office shot a series of pictures inside the Harvey Tunnel.

They show big chunks of concrete knocked out by trucks hitting the entrance over the years, broken light fixtures and broken tiles everywhere you look.

Jefferson Parish has sent state transportation leaders four resolutions, dating back to 2009, urging the state to refurbish the tunnel.

"They tell us a lot of the issues are cosmetic issues. However, I see dangling wires, I see fixtures that are broken," said Jefferson Parish Councilman At-Large Chris Roberts. "I hear from the fire department that tells me the fans don't work properly."

When asked if he though the tunnel was safe, Roberts said, "Is it an imminent threat, where the tunnel is just going to collapse? No, I don't believe that to be the case. I think when you ride through it, you get the impression that it's not safe."

Louisiana DOTD spokeswoman Bambi Hall sent Eyewitness News an email, detailing the expenditures in the tunnel.

"Year to date, we have spent in-house approximately $97,000 on the Harvey Bridge for electrical and mechanical repairs," said Hall. "We have spent approximately $177,000 on the Harvey Tunnel."

Hall also said that the planning process for a tunnel rehab project will begin in the first quarter of next year.

Less than a mile down Peters Road in Harvey, the 4th Street Bridge over the canal is also giving neighbors fits.

"Recently, probably every other month or so the bridge closes for approximately three or four days," said Haydel.

She said when either the bridge or tunnel are closed, her boat business suffers.

"The foot traffic and customers have a difficult time getting our location."

The JP Council is also urging DOTD to replace the aging 4th Street Bridge.

According to DOTD, there are no immediate plans to replace the bridge.

 

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