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As new terminal opens next week, neighbors concerned over traffic, road to airport

DOTD has already acquired several businesses, like the Red Roof Inn Hotel on Loyola. Some homeowners will also be offered buyouts, but it’s unclear who or how many.

NEW ORLEANS —

The road to the airport means different things for different people. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is the area is about to be busy as the new terminal is set to open next week.   

The more than $125 million project to expand the Interstate 10/Loyola Drive Interchange won’t be done until the end of 2022. The project includes new flyover ramps from I-10 to Loyola and a reconfigured intersection at Veterans Boulevard. While that project is being worked on, drivers will use a newly widened Loyola Drive. 

At a public meeting Tuesday, neighbors and business owners were vocal about their concerns. 

RELATED: Work on new airport flyover begins - some I-10 delays expected during run of 3-year project

“I saw it as a big plus that more traffic was going to be coming over through that exit over the next three to four years, and more people will see our store,” said Steve Schnitzer of New Orleans Powersports. “But if it is difficult to get into it, that can be a concern.” 

“The traffic and the big trucks coming on 27th Street, they are shaking the foundation of my house,” said concerned neighbor Gerlender Wells. 

DOTD officials say part of the reason for this meeting is to address these concerns. 

RELATED: Canceled flights and headaches at MSY after Olga

“There is always going to be concerns about traffic flow, congestion and the impact on communities and we are very sensitive to that,” said DOTD secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. 

The DOTD has already acquired several businesses, like the Red Roof Inn Hotel on Loyola. Some homeowners will also be offered buyouts, but it’s unclear who or how many.  

“At the end of the day, we are going to follow the law,” said Wilson. “We are going to pay property owners and relocate those folks and treat them with respect as the law requires us to do.”

RELATED: Pretend travelers give new MSY a dry run

WWL-TV’s crews were at the meeting Tuesday night and asked Wells about the idea of a buyout. 

“Would you support someone coming in and offering money for your house?” asked reporter Paul Dudley. 

“If they offer me the right amount, enough to relocate...I will,” said Wells.

Wilson is open about the fact there will be challenges, but remains confident that the project will be a success when complete. 

RELATED: Take a sneak peek at the new MSY airport terminal

“We have sound walls, we have a pedestrian component that I think is going to add tremendous value,” said Wilson. “But more importantly we are going to move people very safely through and to the airport through this interchange.”

The project is being paid for using GARVEE bonds. It allows the use federal funds that are going to be used for the interstate bonded out.

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