NEW ORLEANS -- After months of waiting, the RTA says they're wrapping up work on the Canal St./City Park Ave. intersection. They were originally hoping it'd be done by the end of November, but even with some delay, it appears they'll stick close to the deadline.
With flooding, a hurricane expected to make landfall and other issues, the delays were necessary according to the RTA. While the they're is not sure on a specific day of completion, the RTA told Eyewitness News crews will work through the weekend to make sure construction is wrapped up by the first week of December.
Chet Pierson has dealt with nightmare traffic in his neighborhood for four months because of the traffic being diverted due to the construction.
"See this guy?" he said as he pointed to a line of cars. "This guy, this guy, and they just come barreling through."
Hearing that the project will wrap up soon is like Christmas coming early for him.
"Voodoo Fest, I sat on my porch and watched fist fights, people locked in traffic," Pierson said. "Celebration in the Oaks is about to happen which is going to be Voodoo Fest with Christmas hats on."
RTA confirmed Thursday the area will open to cars next week.
"These guys have been working seven days a week the last couple of months," said the Director of Infrastructure, Martin Pospisil. "Everybody has been committed to finishing this job on time."
The project helped make the intersection safer for drivers and pedestrians, by adding new elements like a drop-off site for streetcar and RTA passengers.
"We decided to add multiple crossings, signalized crossings, to make it safer for those who still want to walk around," he said. "I think the intersection will be much better than ever before, so I'm extremely satisfied."
Deluxe Cleaners owner, Dan Duplass, said the project brought concern for his employees and their customers.
"We were nervous," Duplass said. "I had some sleepless nights and I was thinking, I want to guarantee my employees certain hours."
However his customers, he says, have been fantastic. He says with detours and heavy backup at times, they've been loyal, and for that he's grateful. Now, with the end near, his worries have completely washed away.
"Because Christmas is coming and Christmas is a big time for us," he said.
As crews make final touches before clearing out, people all around are breathing a sigh of relief.
"It needed to be done, it was archaic," said Pierson as he described how the intersection used to be.
"We're going to have a great intersection," Duplass said. "We anticipate more business because it'll be easier to get to, it's very pretty, aesthetically it's beautiful and we you know, we have to make sacrifices for progress."
Again, it's expected to open the first week of December, but you may still see some crews working in the area. Also, it's opening to motorists, the streetcar won't be running until Jan. 7.
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