Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Two major construction projects are underway in Mid-City, one along City Park Avenue and the other along Esplanade Avenue.

In Bayou St. John, residents and businesses hope the road work won't impact Jazz Fest.

The road work signs are up and so are the cones. Construction crews are busy at work along Esplanade Avenue. It also means traffic headaches.

'It's been congested. Making a left-hand turn when you're in the right hand lane off Esplanade is dangerous and everything gets backed up behind you,' said Bayou St. John resident Michael Barkman, who lives on the avenue.

Work is underway to reduce two traffic lanes to one with the addition of a bike lane.

Barkman says the work is necessary, but he questions the final design.

'It's going to be interesting. People go pretty fast down Esplanade as is, then you have the bike lane and then you have people trying to park,' said Barkman.

Right now, two Paths to Progress projects are underway in Mid-City.

The first runs along City Park Avenue from Canal Street to Orleans Avenue. The second is on Esplanade Avenue from Moss Street to North Claiborne Avenue. The projects will include resurfacing, repairing curbs and installing ADA compliant ramps.

'We're very excited about it. The little bit of exasperation and frustration...Overall getting a new street,' said Bill Edwards with Esplanade Ridge-Treme Civic Association.

Edwards said the neighborhood has waited patiently for this project to move forward ever since Katrina damaged the streets. He said adding bike lanes just makes sense on what has become a popular cycling route.

'We kind of experience that same thing when it was two lanes between Rampart and Claiborne and they went down to one lane and it really wasn't an issue,' said Edwards.

'Good timing, just bad timing towards April,' said Juan Marinda who owns Lola's Restaurant.

As construction moves forward just weeks before Jazz Fest, Marinda says his bottom line won't be impacted since his restaurant is open for dinner only.

However, neighbors might feel the pinch.

'I'm sure the other places Santa Fe, and Cafe Degas, Nonna Mia, they have a lunch hour so they're going to get busy,' said Marinda.

Transportation officials say both projects are expected to be complete sometime this summer.

The project's price tag is $5 million.

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