Squandered Heritage Vintage

Cracking the eggs to make the Carrollton Avenue omelet

Picture 3

Work will begin this week on the resurfacing and sidewalk replacement on South Carrollton Avenue from Interstate 10 to St. Charles Avenue, a project expected to finish by August.

The project also will bring a bike lane, handicapped-accessible curb cuts at each cross street, and new curbs along the 2.2-mile stretch of road.

Though the project likely will create dreadful temporary traffic problems – down to one lane in work areas -it’s set to smooth out what has become a series of undercarriage-scraping asphalt hills and valleys.

The program is being paid for with federal relief money funneled through the South Louisiana Submerged Road Program.

In spite of the short notice and spotty notification, a number of interested residents attended a public meeting at Notre Dame Seminary Tuesday night to hear what the project manager had to say.

The tenor went from informative to incensed.

Four crews each working on a four-block segment are expected to take seven months to complete the street and sidewalk repair program, said Larry Blazek of HTNB.

The crowd expressed the greatest concern for the oak trees, which line a large portion of Carrollton Avenue. Part of the identity of the neighborhood lies in the sweeping canopy along the avenue, and residents have always been protective of their signature trees.

That concern was heightened with the distress suffered from Katrina’s floodwaters and subsequent power-line crews that made repairs.

With that in mind Barry Kohl, professor of earth sciences at Tulane University asked a number of detailed questions about the plan to safeguard the oaks.

After a few minutes of persistent questioning, Carl Panebiango from Hard Rock construction, the on-the-ground contractor, broke out of presentation style and went on the defensive. His assertion was that they were on a tight deadline and had met all the requirements. A heated discussion followed, with a number of residents trying to impress upon Panebiango the value of protecting the oaks.

A smaller, less intense discussion followed regarding the new bike lanes. Most of the residents seemed enthusiastic about the bike lanes and resigned to the general disruption to come.

What remains to be seen is how this will affect the heavily trafficked Carrollton area and the 3 schools along this stretch.

Click here for a copy of the plans

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About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • Anonymous

    Is there any sort of coordination with Entergy, which is currently tearing up sidewalks everywhere including Carrollton Avenue to install new gas lines? Or will Hard Rock install a section only to have Entergy tear it up a few weeks later?

  • Bess

    I see from your link that Carl Panebiango of
    Hard Rock Construction lists this phone number: 504-835-1050. I wonder if it would impress upon him how much our oak canopy means to people in New Orleans if your readers were to give him a ring so they don’t destroy the trees making sidewalks?

  • Cathy Gontar

    The project might have made money for some people but didnt do that much for Carrollton, as it did not address real problem of collapsing
    sewerge system. Check out the cave-in at
    Green and South Carrollton which they keep
    patching to no avail. Soon South Carrollton will be the same bumpy patchwork it was before the
    many months and million dollars of work was done. Way to go, New Orleans, HTNB, Hard Rock and all the other fat cats thay have no interest in getting job done right but just making big bucks.