NEW ORLEANS - Construction equipment has become an all too familiar sight in an eight block stretch of Freret Street, from Napoleon to Jefferson Avenues.
“It's just something we want to get over with. We've been under the knife so to speak for two years,” said Michael Collins, owner of The Other Bar and board member of the Freret Business Association.
But just as business owners thought the end was near, the city is gearing up for a re-do on some of the work. Officials say that's because the original contractor on a streetscaping project didn't do the job right the first time.
Business owners say the curbs along some sidewalk ramps are too high and too sharp, creating a dangerous situation.
“I've personally seen a couple people roll their ankles here and actually end up on the ground with an injury,” said Collins.
Collins also pointed out crumbling brick work on the sidewalks.
Now, a new contractor is set to re-do the ramps with a concrete slope so they're ADA compliant. Hard Rock Construction will also install new bike racks, create a shared bicycle way, and keep controversial curb extensions, or "bump outs."
“A neighbor and I just the other day saw each other and it's just like, ‘I cannot believe this is still happening and it's going to keep going,’” said neighbor Cate Swinburn. “I think it's worth it for the long term but a bit of pain.”
The redo, which is scheduled to take at least four months, is set to begin just as a separate repaving project is wrapping up.
And business owners who have endured over two years of construction headaches fear another round of parking issues could keep customers at bay.
“Seeing those negatives coming up, more blocked streets, more noise, more environmental intrusions to our restaurant is a bit frustrating,” said Lane MacDougall, manager at Midway Pizza.
MacDougall said the lunch crowd is down 10 to 20 percent during construction. Now business owners and neighbors alike are hoping for quality construction that will be completed on schedule.
The streetscape project is set to get underway Nov. 4 and be completed March 11.
Neighbors like Andrew Amacker, president of Freret Neighbors United however, are skeptical. He believes the construction schedule is simply unrealistic.
The city is holding a public meeting about the timeline at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Holy Rosary Academy.