Napoleon Ave. neutral ground will be open to public for Mardi Gras parades

Oshun Parade Krewe of Oshun 2016
The Krewe of Oshun rolls down the traditional Uptown route as the 200 riders celebrated the krewe's 20th anniversary with a 20-float parade entitled "Sea of Beauty" on Friday, January 29, 2016. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) (Michael DeMocker)

Mardi Gras patrons and Uptown residents alike can look forward to 2017 as New Orleans plans to finish its major drainage construction project on Napoleon Avenue in time for parade season.

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans said Tuesday (Dec. 20) the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground from Constance to Carondelet streets will be available for parade goers in time for the Krewe of Oshun, the first parade to roll Uptown Feb. 17 at 6 p.m.

Officials said a majority of the work is already complete in the area. The Army Corps of Engineers posted video to Facebook showing the completed box culvert beneath Napoleon. Now, crews must perform curb work and roadway restoration. The S&WB said sod will cover most, if not all, of the neutral ground by early next year. 

The drainage project comes under the auspice of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, an initiative authorized by Congress after the catastrophic flood of May 8-10, 1995.

Construction work began in October 2013. As of March, officials had targeted the $55.1 million project to be done by November 2016.

Maria Clark contributed to this article for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.