Howard Avenue: Enjoy the asphalt for a few more months

So Jack Gratwick and his crew at Hemphill Construction were able to have temporary pavement on Howard Avenue east of Porter Avenue in place in time for the Mardi Gras parades weeks ago.

That was welcome news for carnival krewes, paradegoers, motorists and businesses alike, but now, the big question: How long will the temporary pavement be in place and what’s the status of the work on Howard?

Says Gratwick: “Temporary asphalt on Howard will remain in place for a couple months while we finish work in the surrounding areas. We are about 75 percent complete with all work on Howard.”

At the eastern end of Howard Avenue, on the downtown restoration efforts, contractors are wrapping up work on a pedestrian brick walkway in front of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, near the new intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Howard Avenue. No word yet from Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on when the overall downtown roadway will formally open to the public, but it’s any day now.

Meanwhile, Oscar Renda reports progress north of the CSX railway. Says Jennifer Matranga: “We’re getting close to wrapping up Main Street south of Division. Paving is taking place as the lines are being laid. Then we move to Forrest, but at the same time we’re working on Esters north of the tracks because we must work there when CSX crews are available. You’ll see final paving on a host of small streets on the eastern end of the project, and we’re heading to Benachi, Strawberry and Croesus.”

See the latest video of progress, recorded March 26, 2019

See the detailed status maps, as of March 15, 2019

News & notes: Council meeting video, traffic update

Council meeting: The City Council on Tuesday heard reports from insurance broker Frank Bordeaux regarding the city’s property insurance, Jennifer Matranga of Oscar Renda on the north contract, and those speaking on the pending vote on the short-term rental issue, which could take place at the council meeting on April 2. The City Council, after debate, also tabled a measure involving proposed design standards on the downtown area of Howard Avenue. That vote, council members agreed, also would take place April 2. To see the full video of the meeting, which ran about 90 minutes, click here.

Traffic update: To see the latest on roadwork throughout the city, along with links to traffic cameras and traffic counts, click here.