Business Resources For Road Construction Woes
NEW ORLEANS – We love the beauty and charm of our almost 300 year-old city, but we don’t always love its aging infrastructure, crumbling streets, and local flooding. The good news is that New Orleans has secured billions of dollars to complete a once-in-a-generation amount of infrastructure improvements. The down side is that residents, businesses and tourists will experience short-term impacts along the way.
In November 2015, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development began a partnership with StayLocal to support businesses in corridors affected by road construction. We developed and collected the materials below to help out your business during this period of interruption.
Below are some of the resources available:
“Road Construction Toolkit for New Orleans Businesses” – The toolkit features important contact information, best practices, cases studies and more to help businesses during road construction.
Roadwork.nola.gov – This website shows block-by-block details on planned, active, and complete construction projects and permitted road closures.
File a Claim with the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board – SWBNO is investigating and resolving property damage issues caused by the SELA construction projects. Residents can learn more about the process and/or initiate the property damage claims process by either calling the SELA Hotline at (504) 585-2450 or visiting www.swbnoselaclaims.com.
There are two types of claims businesses can make: (1) structural damage and (2) loss of business. Another option is to take legal action, however this will close you off to assistance and communications from project partners, including SWBNO and USACE, and make you ineligible for the claims process.
- Primarily for businesses and residents within 150-200 ft radius of construction.
- Involves a before and after assessment by a forensic engineer.
- Even if the construction as already started, it’s never too late to initiate a claim.
- SWBNO will cover one repair per issue (i.e. if you had to repair your sign three times during the construction process, the SWBNO will only cover the cost of one repair).
- If there is a structural emergency, call SELA hotline 504-585-2450 ASAP. SWBNO will pay for emergency structural repairs sooner.
- Best Practices – once you have initiated your claim:
- Call SWBNO if any new damages occur.
- Keep your own pictures and records of any damages.
- Claims will be paid out once the construction in the area is finished.
- Be proactive and stay engaged.
Loss of Business:
- Includes a legal review of income, expenses, taxes, etc. for the past three years.
- Responsibility is on business owner to prove loss of business as well as hire and pay an attorney.
Shopkeeper Stories – The Shopkeeper Stories series shares the vision and personality of New Orleans business owners. While drainage system improvements and road construction make “shopping local” a bit more challenging in the short term, the hope is these stories inspire consumers to shop small and shop local. To learn about being featured, email Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Construction teams are supposed to park at least two blocks away from project. If you see violations, write down the license plate number and car description and call the SELA Hotline at 877-427-0345. This way the ACE can keep track of complaints and alert supervisors.
Businesses and residents would like trash to be picked up and construction waste to be removed. The Army Corps of Engineers says any specific construction concerns should be relayed to Caitlin Campbell either by emailing Caitlin.email@example.com or calling 504-862-2545 instead of speaking to workers on site about an issue. This way the ACE can keep track of complaints and alert supervisors.
A concern is that roadwork is affecting the flow of traffic and blocking signage, making it harder for consumers to find businesses and parking areas. The Army Corps, as a federal agency, cannot put up signs directing people to businesses since that is considered marketing. However, businesses can put up signs to let people know you are open and direct them to your store's entrance or parking area. Signage options for businesses include:
- Window signs are allowed without a permit.
- A-frame signs are allowed for use during business hours.
- Banners are a great way to advertise an event or season of shopping in your corridor, but banners require a temporary permit. To learn more or to apply for a sign that requires a permit, visit the City of New Orleans' One Stop Shop.
If there is a specific area in need of better signage or an area with unclear signage that needs to be adjusted contact Caitlin Campbell at Caitlin.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 504-862-2545.
Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or the new shop on the block, we hope these resources provide some new ideas and helpful resources. We look forward to working side-by-side with you to ensure your success! To learn more about StayLocal, or for a full list of resources, visit http://staylocal.org/roadconstructiontools