Utility work delays Clay, Mission expansion again

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 29, 2001

[05/29/01] Work along a busy intersection on Clay Street has been delayed again, this time because of holdups in moving utility lines along the roadway.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed to a request Friday by Mark Bailey, an engineer with Neel-Schaffer Inc. of Jackson, to extend the contract time for widening the intersection at Clay and Mission 66 streets by 106 days. That pushes the completion date of the project from September to Dec. 27.

“The contractor has done their job, but they’ve had to wait for the utilities to be moved,” said South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb.

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The $486,789 contract was awarded in March to Hemphill Construction of Florence after the original contractor withdrew due to internal financial problems. Utility companies have been on the site since February moving lines and polls, but roadwork cannot begin until that work is finished, Bailey said.

According to a traffic count by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, about 15,000 cars travel through the intersection along Clay Street each day.

The Clay Street project was 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.

In other matters the board:

Awarded bids for safety items.

Authorized advertisement for bids to erect two picnic shelters at Riverfront Park.

Authorized emergency expenditures for professional services in the landscaping department for tree and grass cutting. The spending was declared an emergency to avoid violating a state law that prevents municipal officials from spending more than 25 percent of the year’s budget during the last quarter before an election.

Approved the claims docket.

Upheld a disciplinary action in the Vicksburg Police Department and upheld a termination in the gas department during executive session.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m., June 4 at City Hall.