Why Has New Orleans’ New Terminal Been Delayed So Much?
If you've flown out of Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans over the last couple of years you've probably seen the beautiful new terminal slowly get constructed.
The questions continue to be "what's taking so long" and "when will it open?"
First, it was supposed to open in May of 2018 and that date has been moved three times since. As of now, all we know is the current plan is for the terminal to be open sometime this fall.
So why delay after delay? That's where things get sticky.
Plumbing issues have been reported recently. The issues mostly center around 15,000 linear feet of drainage line underneath the terminal. Because of sifting soils - or, subsidence - the new drainage system underneath the terminal has cracked in various places.
Kenner Code Enforcement Director James Mohamad told WWL-TV in New Orleans that this could have been avoided.
Back in 2016, terminal contractors asked to cut back on the city of Kenner's suggestion to place plumbing hangars (straps that wrap around pipes and connect to the concrete foundation of the new terminal) two feet apart from each other.
Contractors argued that doing so would be too expensive and would take too much manpower. Eventually, the city agreed to let them place them every three feet.
“I'm proud to sit here and tell you that we warned them what was going to happen," Mohamad said at a Kenner city council meeting last week. "I'm confident in my decisions that I made going to the Mayor and telling the Mayor and the council what was going to happen. And we have the documentation and the proof that we warned them."
Last month, it was announced that workers discovered 126 breaks in all. And as of July 31, 93 of those breaks have been repaired.
The remaining repairs all expected to be completed by the end of September.
Mohamad thinks the terminal's current repairs are just the beginning of "ongoing problems."
"It's not going away anytime soon," he said. "They're spending more money now in repairs than if they would've listened to us from the get-go."
However, we were contacted by Erin Burns, Director of Communications for the New Orleans Aviation Board with some clarification on the delays in the terminal opening.
Burns replied with the following:
The issues around the breaks in the drainage lines have no impact on the schedule and are not the reason for any changes that have been made to the timeline for the opening.
Burns also shared with us the article here that explains a little about the most recent change in schedule.
At any rate, we're still anxiously awaiting the grand opening of this sure-to-be amazing new terminal.