Monday, July 03, 2006

Potholes And Pans

The transportation infrastructure of New Orleans took a beating from Hurricane Katrina but the city is not yet down for the count. According to New Orleans CityBusiness, progress is being made.

Pothole proliferation is just one hallmark of Katrina’s destructive blow to New Orleans’ infrastructure.

Ten months after the storm, about 15 percent of the city’s traffic signals are dead or blink chaotically, making intersections dangerous.

Nine thousand missing or damaged traffic signs have drivers wondering whether to stop, yield or go.

At night, streetlights are still out in hard-hit areas such as the Lower Ninth Ward and other spots.

Traffic backs up on the Interstate 10 Twin Span whenever workers perform emergency maintenance on temporary repairs made after Katrina.

But officials say progress is being made in repairing Orleans Parish infrastructure.

Robert Mendoza, city Public Works director since mid-April, said 388 of 458 traffic signals, or just below 85 percent, are functioning, with the rest expected to be working by August.

In some cases, traffic signals are repaired but remain dark because Entergy has yet to supply electricity. Also, traffic signals pieced together with temporary repairs sometimes break when it rains, he said.

Mendoza said Entergy estimates 90 percent of repaired streetlights are functioning. As of April, 42 percent of 4,327 damaged lights had been repaired at a cost of $494,733, he said. The $2 million in streetlight repairs should be complete in December, he said.
But this is not just a repair effort:
The need to bring older intersections up to current codes complicates the rebuilding by forcing the redesign of entire intersections, he said.
New Orleans has its fair share of bad intersections. Hopefully this will bring the streets into the 20th Century.

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