The City of New Orleans is asking that the public be mindful for their travel in the downtown areas following the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday.
Officials say that with major road closures in the downtown area as well as adjustments to public transportation service, weekday travel may be hindered.
"We want people to heed all traffic precautions that we have put out as we continue to stabilize this area," a press release states.
Residents and urged to avoid the area if at all possible and ask that If employees have the ability to work remotely, employers are urged to make arrangements to allow them to do so. The city also says that carpooling and ride-sharing will reduce the number of vehicles coming into the area.
"If you live near co-workers or classmates, ride together to reduce the number of vehicles coming into the area."
If travel is in the downtown area is not avoidable, officials ask that drivers exercise extreme caution and patience as the number of road closures is expected to cause significant delays and slowdowns.
NOPD officers will be out facilitating traffic flow at locations that usually experience higher traffic volume. Drivers are asked to heed officers and follow their directions in order to reduce delays as our city begins to work through the disruption caused by the construction collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel that occurred on Saturday.
“We will have officers at strategic locations to keep traffic moving,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “We will assess and update that plan as necessary.”
The road closures have not changed and are below:
- Common Street is closed from Basin Street to Dauphine Street.
- Dauphine Street is closed from Common Street to Conti Street
- Conti Street is closed from Dauphine to Basin Street
- Canal Street is closed between Elk Place and Dauphine Street
- Canal Street is open both directions between the Mississippi River and Dauphine Street. Drivers traveling lake bound will be required to turn back and use St. Charles Avenue, Magazine Street, and Tchoupitoulas Street to travel Uptown.
For additional information and updates please visit ready.nola.gov [links.govdelivery.com].
---MORE ON THE COLLAPSE BELOW------
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Rescue crews on Sunday searched for a worker missing in the partial collapse of a New Orleans hotel that was under construction, their work proceeding cautiously amid fears about the stability of the structure, authorities said.
Officials declined to say if they have any indication whether the missing worker is alive after Saturday's collapse. New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said they are treating their work as a rescue mission until they have evidence the missing person is dead along with two other people killed when a large part of the Hard Rock Hotel project crashed down near the city's historic French Quarter.
"Safety is the No. 1 thing. The last thing you want to do when you are trying to rescue somebody is lose someone else," McConnell said at a news conference Sunday.
Several floors of the hotel toppled down Saturday amid blinding dust and flying debris. WWL-TV obtained a viewer's dramatic video of upper floors collapsing Saturday before one side of the building crashed to the street.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell told media outlets later Sunday that the body of one of the two dead has been recovered and the coroner's office is working to identify the victim.
Thirty people were injured. Only one remains in the hospital. The mayor visited the man, who had surgery for a leg injury.
"He told me it could have been worse. He wanted to make sure his co-workers were safe. He was envisioning the two who were on the floor with him," Cantrell said.
Crews on Sunday were assembling a 220,000-pound (99,800-kilogram) crane driven into the city overnight to begin the delicate process of removing the large amount of fallen debris, McConnell said.
"Our original estimate to get a crane was two weeks. We got it here in less than 24 hours," McConnell said.
The project's contractor, Citadel Builders LLC, was flying in engineers from Europe to help crews remove debris without risking the life of the missing person or nearby buildings and aid in the investigation, officials said.
Neither Citadel Builders nor emergency officials have commented on any potential cause of the building collapse.
The new Hard Rock Hotel was under construction at the corner of Rampart Street and Canal Street, a broad boulevard just outside the French Quarter that is lined with restaurants hotels and retailers. Canal, which carries six lanes of traffic divided by a wide median where streetcars roll, separates the Quarter from the city's main business district.
Officials warned massive disruptions in the area will likely last for weeks. Reports said about 100 residents in the mandatory evacuation zone have been displaced from their homes. And some debris from the building fell on the roof of the Saenger Theatre. Cantrell said the exact damage to the theater has not been determined, but productions of "Wicked" have been canceled through the end of its run next weekend. She urged patience because it could take weeks or even months to clean up the area.
"This structure is not stable. We want people to stay away from the area. How we touch it - it just matters," the mayor said.