Drainage projects on Napoleon, Jefferson and Louisiana to disrupt streetcars for several months at a time

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Scope of the Uptown drainage projects: yellow lines are complete; red are forthcoming. (via swbno.org)

The upcoming drainage projects on Napoleon and Jefferson avenues will shut down St. Charles Avenue streetcar service for 60 to 90 days next year, and a similar project on Louisiana Avenue will do so again a second time, officials said Thursday.

As part of a major overhaul of the drainage system that serves Uptown New Orleans, massive new canals will be installed under the neutral grounds of those three avenues from South Claiborne Avenue to Constance Street. The work is being done in phases, with the upper portion of Napoleon Avenue (Claiborne to Carondelet) starting in March.

The contracts for the lower portion of Napoleon, plus the upper and lower portion of Jefferson, are all set to be awarded in July. The entirety of the Louisiana Avenue project will be awarded in early 2013, meaning that by next year, work on all three projects will be happening at once.

Each must come across St. Charles Avenue, which will interfere with the streetcar service, said Ron Spooner, head of the drainage engineering department at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.

“The streetcar will be out of service, but we’re going to minimize the outage of the streetcar,” Spooner said during a public meeting Thursday on the details of the Napoleon project.

Specifically, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has asked that the down time be no longer than 60 to 90 days, Spooner said, and that it take place between JazzFest and Thanksgiving. Spooner said the Jefferson and Napoleon crossings of St. Charles Avenue will be timed to take place simultaneously, but that the Louisiana Avenue project is on a later schedule and will cause a second interruption.

The Napoleon Avenue project alone is expected to last until January 2015, nearly three years. Construction will take place in two-to-three block zones, minimizing the number of intersections closed at a time, and one lane of traffic will remain open on each side throughout the project, officials said.

For more details of the project, click in the box below to read our live coverage of the meeting.

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