West 10th Street work finally clearing; nightmare for those impacted

Published 12:10 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

RESERVE — When the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development started the project to widen and resurface Louisiana 637, also known as West 10th Street in Reserve, it was promised to take a year.

More than two years later, workers still are applying the finishing touches to the roadway.

“They’re still out there doing stuff,” said Jerri Terrio, who owns Pirogue’s Restaurant on the corner of West 10th and Airline Highway. “They’re still not finished.”

The good news is the road has reopened to traffic even as workers finish the striping and median work.

“Thank God,” Terrio said.

West 10th Street, which has long-been a main thoroughfare between River Road and Airline Highway and to points in between, has been closed since June of 2015, forcing residents and travellers to find alternate routes, often through residential neighborhoods.

When posted on the DOTD’s website, the work was projected to last through April of 2016.

“They said maybe six months or so,” Terrio said.

Instead, the project became a two-year nightmare for Terrio, whose business barely survived the closure.

“People thought I was closed,” Terrio said. “People thought I went out of business.”

It wasn’t easy to stay open, she said.

“They started the construction and all of a sudden they would close the whole road off,” she said. “Customers couldn’t come to my place. They were ordering on the phone and would try to come pick it up and they were turning them around. They wouldn’t let them pass. I was left with so much food. I have a business I’m trying to run and they’re shutting me down. My delivery people had to park on the side of Airline and walk my deliveries down the street.”

The closure caused nightmares for students and faculty at the nearby Riverside Academy as well.

Located on the intersecting Railroad Avenue, Riverside lost a major thoroughfare and had to route its traffic through the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Oh it was awful,” said current principal Mike Coburn, who took over the school in December. “We only had one way in and one way out and sometimes the traffic backed up. We had policemen directing traffic, but it would sometimes take you 30 minutes or more to get out in the afternoons.”

It also became a challenge for visiting sports teams, who had to maneuver busloads of people through the residential neighborhoods.

“They’d call us and say they were lost,” Coburn said. “They didn’t know where they were.”

Now that the road is reopened, Coburn said things are returning to normal.

“Life is 100 percent better now,” he said. “They did a good job. It’s very nice. I know they had to do it and we had to tough it out to get through it, but I’m glad it’s over.”

Nearing completion, Parish leaders said the sub-surface drainage and road widening work is critical to improving safety and building capacity along the industrial corridor in Reserve because the road is heavily traveled by residents, school buses, 18-wheelers and traffic to and from the Port of South Louisiana.