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New Orleans roadwork presents a challenge to disabled residents

Roadwork across the City of New Orleans is a pain for drivers, and an even bigger inconvenience for those who live on them.

NEW ORLEANS — Roadwork across the City of New Orleans is a pain for drivers and an even bigger inconvenience for those who live on them. 

Neighbors in the Marlyville-Fountainebleau area are dealing with construction right now.

According to RoadworkNOLA.gov, the construction near Earhart Blvd. and Audubon Street started in June 2021, and it's not expected to be complete until sometime between April and June 2023. 

The website indicates the crews are currently working on sewer and water lines, but that a drain is on hold due to supply chain issues. 

After the underground work is complete, the paving can begin. 

In the meantime, Sonya Allen-Smith said it's causing safety issues. 

“We know the work needs to be done," Allen-Smith said. "That’s fine.” 

Allen-Smith isn't against progress, she just wants to see her 87-year-old father-in-law Melvin Smith be able to get around. 

“His ability to have access and leave and go as he will because he is a little disabled," Allen-Smith said. "So it calls for us to be a little more creative and watch out for safety hazards when we’re bringing him to and from the car when we’re bringing him to the grocery store.”

Melvin Smith has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years. 

“I’ve been knowing they were going to tear it up," Smith said. “I didn’t know it was going to be this long cause they’ve been here over a month." 

Random boards are being used as bridges over puddles near the corner where the family picks him up. 

“I can’t go out in the street like I usually do and get in the car, they’ve got to push me down here," Smith said. 

Smith uses a wheelchair after easing down the stairs. It's getting in the car and over the water that's tricky. 

“The wheelchair will probably have a lot of mud and dirt on it," Allen-Smith said. 

To an 87-year-old, a couple of years of construction may seem like a drop in the bucket, unless it's what's keeping you from making the most of your remaining years. 

“We just try to do everything we can to make sure he’s comfortable and happy," Allen-Smith said. “That’s just all our ask is. Make it a functional place for our elders and our families and our children.”  

 Allen-Smith said she would like to see additional boards or something near the sidewalk corners for people to safely cross.

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