Recent rain stops work on Lafitte Greenway project

NEW ORLEANS -- The Lafitte Greenway project is nearly complete, but it may not be on schedule.

City officials say the recent severe weather could delay the new bike path from opening on time, especially if we get more rain.

After months of work, The Lafitte Greenway is finally taking shape.

"You can see that much of the trail has been laid, we are thrilled to see trees now in the ground," says Sophie Harris, the Executive Director of Friend of Lafitte Corridor. "It's really starting to look like a green greenway."

Crews broke ground on the 2.6 mile bike path last March, which, once complete, will connect six historic neighborhoods between the French Quarter and Mid-City.

The new green space was set to open this spring, but now the project is on track to wrap up this summer.

"The original completion date was based on the original scope of work and based on where we are at budget wise we are able to add some additional features," says Mark Jernigan, the Director of Public Works.

While there have been no serious delays, city officials say there is one thing that threatens to slow down crews.

"You can't really do the landscaping when the ground is saturated, so the planting of trees, the grading, the planting of grass," says Jernigan.

Jernigan says with all the recent rain, there has been a lot of standing water along the bike path, which has delayed landscaping. Still, Jernigan says the city is hopeful the project is still on schedule.

"We did account for some weather in the project scheduling and we are reviewing the schedule right now," says Jernigan. "Indications are we've kind of accounted for everything we've gotten to date, but if we get more rain this spring that could change a little bit."

Friends of Lafitte Corridor, who helped raise money for the greenway, says delays are to be expected with a project this scale and say the community is just eager to hit trail.

"We are just incredible excited about when the greenway opens this summer, seeing folks out there using it and next jazz fest," says Harris.

City officials say they have not finalized a long-term operation and maintenance plan, which will include security for the greenway.

In the meantime, officials say the Department of Parks and Parkways has budgeted money to cover the costs once it opens.


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