Computer tags 17 streets to be repaved

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2004

[3/16/04]Some of Vicksburg’s worst thoroughfares will be repaved this spring based on evaluations by a new computer system.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Monday to advertise for bids for work on all or part of 17 streets, including Clay Street at the Vicksburg National Military Park entrance, part of Indiana Avenue and Pemberton Boulevard.

James “Bubba” Rainer, head of the city’s public works division, said the streets selected for this year’s resurfacing contract are not necessarily the worst, but made the top of the list when factors such as traffic counts were blended with other data.

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Rainer said roads that need more extensive work, such as Halls Ferry Road at Fisher Ferry, will be done later when money is available to rebuild the roadbed.

“This management system tells you how to get the best bang for your bucks,” Rainer said.

The computer program cost the city $119,000 two years ago and included the software, training for city employees and a survey of all city streets. Streets are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 based on several factors, and roads to be repaired are recommended by the computer system based on rank and available money.

Overall, the streets ranked a 71, Rainer said.

This is the first time the city has repaved streets based on the computer’s recommendations. Previously, decisions about which streets to repave were based on recommendations from department heads, observations of the mayor and aldermen and citizen complaints, but there were no specific guidelines in place.

“We’ve removed the element of politics forever,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

The bid process takes about 30 days, and work could begin soon after a contractor is picked. The project to be advertised will also include some repaving at the city’s water treatment plant.

Warren County uses a similar method to decide which county-maintained roads to repave based on recommendations of the county’s engineering firm ABMB.

In other matters the city board:

Rezoned the area around 503 Magnolia St. from light industrial to family residential at the request of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Awarded bids for steel fencing and accessories to Miller Materials of Vicksburg for $50,426. The decorative fencing is to be used on the parking garage at the former Walnut Towers.

Approved address changes on Third North and First East streets.

Approved the claims docket.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. March 25 at City Hall Annex.