Road work stopped on Clay Street, Halls Ferry

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

[03/07/01] Work on busy intersections on Halls Ferry Road and on Clay Street has been delayed while Vicksburg officials search for a new contractor.

City officials learned Monday the same contractor tapped to widen the intersection at Halls Ferry and Cain Ridge roads and Clay Street and Mission 66 will not be able to complete the projects. The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed the matter during a closed session, but took no action to replace the company.

“Hopefully, we will be able to take action on this at our next board meeting,” Mayor Robert Walker said.

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The same company that began work last May on the second phase of the Halls Ferry Road work, J.B. Talley Inc. of St. Martinville, La., was awarded the contract for the widening of Clay and Mission 66 in December. South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb said the city was told the contractor had run into financial problems and would be unable to complete the two projects.

“They were off the job at Halls Ferry Road sometime late Monday,” Habeeb said.

So far, the only signs of work at Clay and Mission 66 came last month when utility polls were installed farther from the current roadway, but work along Halls Ferry Road at Cain Ridge Road has been more significant. Habeeb said city officials hope to find someone else to complete the job without having to rebid the project.

If the projects have to be readvertised, the bidding process will take 30 days, he said.

“Mission and Clay will most likely have to be rebid,” Habeeb said.

J.B. Talley is bonded through a company that in effect guarantees the work will be done for the bid price. If another contractor cannot be found to complete the projects for the same price, the bond company will have to pay the difference between Talley’s contract price and any new bid, Habeeb said.

Talley won the bid for the Clay Street project for $486,789 and the Halls Ferry Road project for about $1 million.

According to a traffic count by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, about 15,000 cars travel through the intersection along Clay Street each day. Along Halls Ferry Road between Interstate 20 and Cain Ridge Road, about 17,000 cars pass daily.

The Clay Street project was first announced seven years ago, but had been on hold while city leaders negotiated for easements along the two roads. Last year, the city had to use its power of eminent domain to get some of the small parcels needed for the widening.

Phase one of the Halls Ferry Road project began in 1997 and stretched from Pemberton Boulevard south to Woodland Drive. That part of the plan, completed in 1999, was done by APAC of Mississippi. APAC submitted bids for the second phase of the Halls Ferry Road project and the Clay Street project, but lost both to J.B. Talley who was the lowest bidder.