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17 streets lined up for repairs, repaving

Joe Hartzog of 35 Bellwood Drive points toward the shed that covers his boat, which he has not been able to move out because of poor road and ditch conditions on his street. The city will repave 14 streets, including Bellwood Drive. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/29/01] More than a half-million dollars will be spent over the next three months to repair and repave streets.

The $588,933 to be spent as part of the city’s annual street-improvement plan will come from gaming revenues, city accountant John Smith said.

The 14 streets that will be repaved are Industrial Drive, Military Avenue, Old Highway 27, Bellwood Drive, Leota Lane, Emmette Drive, First East Street, Harrison Street, Short Main Street, North Locust Street, Yerger Street, Holly Ridge Drive, Lanes Alley and Dyers Alley. Three streets in the northwest part of the city, Sherman Avenue, Riviera Boulevard and Greenview Drive, will see repairs. The repaving cost is $350,687, and the repairs will cost $238,246.

APAC of Mississippi submitted the only bid for the work.

Smith said the capital improvements fund, which is holding the bulk of the money for the work, currently has $500,000 in it and the rest of the funding will come from the Street Department’s budget. The fund has covered road improvements annually for the past four or five years, Smith said.

In the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the city paid independent contractors $128,279.93 for road maintenance.

City Clerk Walter Osborne Jr. said the contract calls for the work to begin in April and be completed 60 days later.

At least two streets that will be repaired or repaved this year were damaged by city improvements during the past year, residents said.

Bellwood Drive and Leota Lane, both short streets off Porters Chapel Road, are marred by potholes and broken asphalt, damage residents blame on work last year to extend sewer lines into the areas annexed into the city 10 years earlier.

“It was in good shape until they did the sewer work last year,” said Tracy Hopkins, who lives on Bellwood at Leota Lane. She said sewer trucks and equipment tore up the road a year ago.

“It’s been horrible,” she said.

Other Bellwood Drive residents agreed.

“They messed it up the first time when they put in new water lines some time ago,” Dot Everett said. “Then last year, they tore up the road again, putting in the new sewer lines.”

The Everetts are having to wait for the street to be repaved before they can finish work on their driveway.

“It will be nice when they get it repaved,” Everett said.

Across the road, Joe Hartzog said he’s complained about the road and sunken sewer lines to the city since last July.

“I’ve been calling to get it fixed and they haven’t done anything,” he said. “This is a mess.”

Hartzog said he can’t get things out of his shed or get his boat out because of ditches the sunken sewer lines have made in his yard and across his driveway.

“This sewer has to be fixed,” Hartzog said. “They haven’t responded to complaints, and all they say is they’ll get to it when they can.”

Tommy Gardner, director of the Sewer Support/Sanitation Department, said a work order has been issued for the ditches on Bellwood and the work will be completed as soon as city workers can get to it. He said most of the work will simply require filling the low spots with dirt.

Most of the roads to be repaved have been damaged by time.

Mary Louise Kinstley, 1410 Harrison St., said the street in front of her house near downtown has continually worsened over the years.

“They were somewhat bad before but have steadily gotten worse,” Kinstley said. “I’ve hit the bottom of my car on the street backing out of the driveway and have lost hubcaps on it.”