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Loyola Streetcar Line to Open Before Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS -- Construction crews are working to complete work on the Loyola Streetcar Expansion Project in time for Super Bowl XVII. Testing has begun on the new streetcar line, and various tests will take place prior to the grand opening. A grand opening celebration is being planned for January 28, after which service on the line will begin.

Along the Loyola corridor, transit shelters are in place, and landscape work is underway. Paving and striping of the roadway are expected to be complete in the next few weeks. The major traffic impact remains at the Elk Place/Canal Street intersection, where crews are working to repair pavement and sidewalks. The Loyola corridor and intersections from Howard Avenue through Gravier Street are open to traffic. The Tulane intersection has two lanes open in both the river-bound and lake-bound sides.

“The Loyola Avenue Streetcar Project was primarily funded by a $45 million federal grant through the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) competitive grant program, which funds innovative projects with significant economic and environmental benefits for the surrounding community and region," said RTA spokesperson, Patrice Bell Mercadel.  "The project is expected to improve access to the city's transit network from the Central Business District and reduce travel time between residential areas, employment centers, and major activity centers," she said.

This project will also promote and support economic development in the area by allowing improved connectivity between convention, tourism, entertainment, energy, and health care and biosciences facilities and enhance livability for Downtown residents and has already spurred nearly $2 billion of private investment in the corridor.

More than 70 projects have been identified on and near the Loyola Corridor.  Some highlights include the $243 million renovation of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, the re-opening of the historic Joy Theatre and the opening of a 40,000 sq. ft. Rouses Supermarket.

The Loyola Streetcar line will figure significantly in the traffic plan unveiled by the City of New Orleans recently.

Vehicular traffic in the areas around the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Morial Convention Center and the French Quarter will be restricted beginning January 5, and traffic controls will increase in the days leading up the game on February 3. Commuters and visitors will need to park in peripheral areas and use public transit to access the restricted areas.

The Loyola Avenue streetcars will operate from the Union Passenger Terminal, with stops at Julia Street, Poydras Street and Canal Street, where they will link to the Canal Streetcar line for access to the French Quarter and Convention Center.

"We are in the final phase of construction, and residents and visitors can plan to take their first ride aboard the Loyola streetcar later this month,” said Bell Mercadel.

More information regarding the City's traffic plan is available at www.nola.gov/superbowl.

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