New Orleans — Construction Started on N. Rampart
As reported by the Times-Picayune, activists filed suit in January to stop the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority from building the Rampart-St. Claude streetcar project, a 1.6-mile line that is estimated to cost $41 million. The group was made up of property owners along the route, historic preservationists, and members of at least two Indian tribes. The plaintiffs alleged that there had been inadequate study of the potential damage to historic buildings, potential archeological sites, and potential for street flooding.
The suit was filed as crews were already working on utility relocation along the route.
The plaintiffs were unsuccessful as the court quickly rejected the suit, asserting that no compelling evidence had been presented to support their claims.
Construction work along North Rampart opposite the French Quarter began almost immediately after the court ruled.
The Regional Transit Authority held a ceremonial groundbreaking January 28 for its 1.6-mile, $41.2 million streetcar extension on Rampart and St. Claude, WWL television reports. The mayor disputed critics who called the line a streetcar to "nowhere." Construction is expected to last 16 months. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the $41 million project will connect neighborhoods hosting 70,000 residents.
Landrieu also said: "Any time you can have a vehicle that moves people in large numbers, especially ones that are among the most beautiful, authentic ones, it adds incredible value to the neighborhood. And by the way, this is not the last stop. We're going to keep extending it."
The 1.6 mile route is expected to be completed by September 2016. Service along the route will connect with the new Loyola route providing service from Elysian Fields Avenue to the Union Passenger Terminal.