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Ongoing construction leads to headaches on Severn Ave.

Traffic at Severn Ave. is backed up and business owners are frustrated. Part of the busy street has been torn up since 2020.

METAIRIE, La. — A busy section of Severn Avenue that runs between Airline Drive and the Lakefront has been under construction since June of 2020, according to Jefferson Parish. 

Darlene Yetta's store, Once Upon A Child, is located near 21st and Severn Avenue in the heart of the construction. 

The project intends to solve a reoccurring flooding issue the area had. 

“It flooded out there badly. It really did. It really did," Yetta said, "So, yeah, I’m hoping it’s been worth it.”  

Yetta said she tries to avoid the construction when driving to her store, but it's been hard on customers. 

“You know customers come in and they say, 'Oh my gosh it’s so difficult to get here,'" Yetta said, "And you know, it’s concerning obviously because it is. You know like you’ve got with the light sometimes you’ve got to wait for two or three lights to get through, and it’s only one lane.”  

Now Jefferson Parish is estimating the $14 million project will be done this October, 13 months past its original contract date. 

 According to Jefferson Public Works Director, Mark Drewes, three of those additional months were due to halting construction during the holiday season and Mardi Gras 2022. 

“We had a significant number of rain days in excess of what we typically have. We had Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Zeta," Drewes said, "So a little over three months was no one’s fault. So the other 10 months were for the work that we added and the problems that we found underground.”   

Drewes said they were forced to deal with numerous water line and sewer issues.

Those issues and paying the contractors more for the additional work impacted the cost of the project. It was originally supposed to cost $11.6 million, according to Drewes. 

“You put on top of that our supply chain issues we’ve been having and some COVID delays, that’s kind of where we ended up with a finish date of October, mid-October," Drewes said. 

That deadline is dependent on how this hurricane season goes and any other major weather impacts, Drewes said. 

Until then, business owners wait for all the lanes to open and things to get back to normal. 

“This doesn’t look like it’s going to be completed anytime soon," Yetta said. 

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