CITY REOPENS LAKEBOUND LANES OF CANAL STREET FOLLOWING REPAIRS TO COLLAPSED TUNNEL AND DAMAGED ROADWAY
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City and State officials to reopen the lakebound lanes of Canal Street that were repaired following the collapse of an underground tunnel. Repairs to both the tunnel and roadway above were safely and efficiently completed in less than seven weeks. The project, which will be paid for by City emergency funding, was completed at a cost less than the projected $5 million budget.
“The collapse of the tun nel underneath Canal Street and damage to the roadway was an unprecedented infrastructure failure that required an immediate response,” said Mayor Landrieu. “With a sense of urgency, our City Council partners issued an emergency declaration, our contractor got to work and the repair was completed on task, on time and under budget. Thank you to everyone for working together to get this done safely and quickly – and in particular to our residents and visitors for their patience while this repair was being completed.”
On Friday, April 15, 2016, a section of Canal Street was found to be compromised due to a partial collapse of what was initially intended to be a temporary tunnel wall as part of the Rivergate Expressway Tunnel project built in 1966. The lakebound lanes of the affected area of Canal Street were immediately closed to the public and the impacted area was secured. Two weeks later, the roadway collapsed into the tunnel – causing further damage to the tunnel and associated drain lines.
Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans said, “As an area of the city whose vitality lies within tourism and commerce, infrastructure is a fundamental component in keeping the CBD and French Quarter at the pace we’re all accustomed to. This was a unique situation and certainly merited unique attention so we could resolve the problem safely, quickly, and effectively.
Prior to the road’s collapse, two temporary timber walls secured both ends of the tunnel along with steel framing. The repair process included reinforced concrete walls, replacement of the drainage system and sewer lines plus three layers of concrete to complete the work above the tunnel.
On Thursday, May 5, 2016, the New Orleans City Council approved an emergency declaration to expedite repairs. Hard Rock Construction completed the project in 33 days following acceptance of their bid. Expedient progress was made through collaborative efforts from emergency management teams, City staff, contractors, Canal Street stakeholders and the City Council.
District C Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, “The occurrence of the Canal street infrastructure failure demonstrates the importance of maintaining our infrastructure. As the chair of the Public Works Committee, I am committed to working with the administration to help ensure the safety of our streets. Thank you to everyone who worked to resolve this problem.”