NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today was joined by Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Infrastructure Joseph Threat, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) Interim General Superintendent Ron Spooner, District Engineer Administrator for Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) Scott Boyle and Audubon Institute Senior Vice President and Managing Director Uptown Facilities Daine Appleberry to celebrate the completion of the $5.8 million roadwork project in the Audubon neighborhood. This project extends four blocks on Magazine Street, from Leake Avenue to East Drive. Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony is a testament to the Cantrell Administration’s continued commitment to improving the City’s aging infrastructure.
“This project, with its proximity to Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo, was important as we continue our work in making this area pedestrian friendly for residents and visitors who utilize these facilities,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We’re so excited about improvements to this particular stretch of Magazine Street and understand the importance of safety precautions in place for everyone can enjoy the park and all its features. This is a testament of how the City continues to leverage both local and state dollars to get the work done. And the exciting part – this project was finished ahead of schedule!”
“This project is an important improvement to not only the residents who live in this area, but those who travel in this area,” said District A Councilmember Joseph Giarrusso III. “My office worked closely with impacted residents, businesses and RoadworkNOLA staff to establish weekly check-in meetings for this project. I appreciate the collaboration and hard work by all involved and am thrilled to see this project finalized.”
The scope of the project includes repaving the asphalt roadway, repairing damaged sidewalks and driveway aprons, installing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curb ramps at intersections and replacing and repairing damaged underground water, sewer and drainage lines.
“My staff has been working tirelessly to fix our streets,” said Deputy CAO Threat. “It truly is a collaboration, especially with our Audubon partner for this project. Smart people working together, making decisions and finding solutions to get the job done. This is a perfect example of what we’re doing all throughout the city.”
This roadway project is unique in that it was partially funded from the City’s $500 million bond sale that voters approved in 2019. The Board of Liquidation authorized the sale of more than $300 million in General Obligation Bonds in 2021, which was the largest, one-time, new money tax-exempt bond sale in the City’s history. This is functioning as a local stimulus to rebuild our infrastructure and infuse funding into our economy all at the same time. The remaining funds came from the City of New Orleans and the Federal Highway Administration overseen by LaDOTD.
“This is an ongoing collaborative effort between the Department of Public Works, Sewerage and Water Board and Louisiana DOTD,” said Spooner. “We upgraded water lines from 1908, meaning these lines had given 115 years of service, so residents’ got their money’s worth, but it was definitely time for an upgrade. We’ll continue to efficiently use funding for more roads, more bridges, and all around more city infrastructure.”
“We facilitate many projects throughout the New Orleans district,” said Boyle. “Whenever a project is announced, there’s always feelings of joy and excitement about the rebuilding and refurbishing but also anxiety over the delays and closures. Significant, meaningful projects take time and patience. We look forward to future opportunities to enhance infrastructure on a local and state level.”
This strip of Magazine Street runs through Audubon Park and fronts the Audubon Zoo, a world-class institution of wildlife education and conservation. This work not only benefits all the people who use the park for walking, running, biking and golf but all the visitors to the zoo and the Fly along the Mississippi River, locals and tourists alike.
“I stand confidently here today to express sincere gratitude on behalf of the Audubon Institute,” said Appleberry. “This project is a shining example of what ‘good’ can do. Good strategy, good communication and good partners lead to phenomenal projects. It also celebrates nature as people will have easier, safer access to our park and our zoo.”