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Author Topic: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels  (Read 2678 times)

bugo

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Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« on: September 20, 2020, 09:06:28 AM »

The Wikipedia article about the Vieux Carre Expressway in New Orleans states that part of the expressway was actually built:
Quote
A small piece of the freeway was built as a six-lane, 690-by-98-foot-long-and-wide (210 m × 30 m) tunnel, under the Rivergate Convention Center, now Harrah's New Orleans Casino. It is now used for valet parking.
I spent an hour on Google Maps and Google Earth trying to find evidence of these tunnels, but I couldn't find anything that even resembled a tunnel portal in the vicinity of the casino. Is the Wikipedia article correct, and if so, is there any evidence that the tunnel was built that is visible from a satellite view?
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Voyager75

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2020, 12:16:16 PM »

You can’t tell of any evidence from satellite views. There was a old picture taken from the air when tunnel construction had begun however. It’s buried somewhere in a old article online. One of the local papers did a scrolling picture article of it current day as well several years ago.
Harrah’s modified it for the valet parking so you can’t really tell it was a freeway anymore.

Only the tunnel section of the expressway was ever built. The east end of it was to end at the current Exit 237 at I-10. You can sort of tell it was to be a much bigger interchange if the thing was built.

This expressway was one of the first things that got me into the roadgeek fandom 20 years ago. My family used to stay at the Hilton across the road over the Riverwalk Mall for 5-6 years straight for late summer mini vacations. Never knew a freeway was to go across that area...
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Duke87

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 12:29:39 PM »

This article has a bunch more details, and includes pictures.

Of particular note:
Quote
Today, pedestrians walking Convention Center Boulevard would have no way of knowing a half-century-old, city-owned interstate tunnel lies below Harrah's breezeway.

A close look, however, betrays clues: slight but conspicuous swells in the asphalt of lower Canal and Poydras perforated by cracks in the pavement, each lining up precisely with the tunnel, the result of its uneven subsidence rates compared to surrounding soils.

The "slight swell in the asphalt" on Canal St appears to be visible on Street View.

Regardless, this does appear to confirm what I'd otherwise suspect to the be the case - that there really isn't much in the way of evidence on the surface of the tunnel's existence.
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Voyager75

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Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 02:19:18 PM »

This article has a bunch more details, and includes pictures.

Of particular note:
Quote
Today, pedestrians walking Convention Center Boulevard would have no way of knowing a half-century-old, city-owned interstate tunnel lies below Harrah's breezeway.

A close look, however, betrays clues: slight but conspicuous swells in the asphalt of lower Canal and Poydras perforated by cracks in the pavement, each lining up precisely with the tunnel, the result of its uneven subsidence rates compared to surrounding soils.

The "slight swell in the asphalt" on Canal St appears to be visible on Street View.

Regardless, this does appear to confirm what I'd otherwise suspect to the be the case - that there really isn't much in the way of evidence on the surface of the tunnel's existence.
Yeah that was article I was referring to. Just couldn’t remember it off the top of my head.

I’ve always assumed that Convention Center Blvd. just south of Harrah’s would have been part of the freeway if built but it would have lowered as it went into the tunnel.

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« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 10:13:48 PM by Voyager75 »
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bugo

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 07:46:06 AM »

Were any portals built?
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1995hoo

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2020, 08:18:26 AM »

Thanks for the links. My brother lives in New Orleans, so I sent the article to him.
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Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 06:20:40 PM »

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bwana39

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2020, 09:36:00 PM »

My wife and I managed to get into this thing in early 2006. The casino was either still closed or barely open. It was surreal. It seemed like we had to go MILES to get out even though it was just a couple of overlong blocks.
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Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2020, 10:09:34 PM »

My wife and I managed to get into this thing in early 2006. The casino was either still closed or barely open. It was surreal. It seemed like we had to go MILES to get out even though it was just a couple of overlong blocks.
Early 2006 would have been while New Orleans was trying to put herself back together, after Katrina.
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bwana39

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2020, 09:23:36 AM »

My wife and I managed to get into this thing in early 2006. The casino was either still closed or barely open. It was surreal. It seemed like we had to go MILES to get out even though it was just a couple of overlong blocks.
Early 2006 would have been while New Orleans was trying to put herself back together, after Katrina.

Yep! Like I said Harrahs was barely reopened if at all. Staying in a hotel was worse than during the current Covid crisis.  We were in the parking garage and they routed us a different way due to a cherry picker doing maintenance we missed a turn and saw a sign that said valets only but we could not back up and.....

New Orleans was a mess. There were still boats sitting in US-90. There was at least a single lane open all the way to the Chef Mentuer bridge which was still closed (or open if you will.)

Houses still sat in the middle of 4-lane streets. Admittedly, it was years before all the houses got cleared out of some of the streets, but it was too early.  I am not sure if we even got as far as a job offer. I knew BEFORE I did the interview that it was not going to happen.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 09:40:09 AM by bwana39 »
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rlb2024

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2020, 05:17:45 PM »

A portion of Canal Street collapsed into the tunnel a few years ago due to a leaking water main:

https://www.sunherald.com/news/article74786607.html
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bwana39

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Re: Vieux Carre Expressway tunnels
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2021, 05:09:37 PM »

My wife and I managed to get into this thing in early 2006. The casino was either still closed or barely open. It was surreal. It seemed like we had to go MILES to get out even though it was just a couple of overlong blocks.
Early 2006 would have been while New Orleans was trying to put herself back together, after Katrina.

Yep! Like I said Harrahs was barely reopened if at all. Staying in a hotel was worse than during the current Covid crisis.  We were in the parking garage and they routed us a different way due to a cherry picker doing maintenance we missed a turn and saw a sign that said valets only but we could not back up and.....

New Orleans was a mess. There were still boats sitting in US-90. There was at least a single lane open all the way to the Chef Mentuer bridge which was still closed (or open if you will.)

Houses still sat in the middle of 4-lane streets. Admittedly, it was years before all the houses got cleared out of some of the streets, but it was too early.  I am not sure if we even got as far as a job offer. I knew BEFORE I did the interview that it was not going to happen.

A portion of Canal Street collapsed into the tunnel a few years ago due to a leaking water main:

https://www.sunherald.com/news/article74786607.html


It may have been that repair that I had to drive around. There was a cherry picker doing something on the ceiling...
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