Bridge Get the job done

Published 1:02 am Sunday, September 25, 2011

Construction on New York’s Empire State Building took one year and 45 days. The building stands more than 1,000 feet tall and has 102 floors.

San Francisco’s majestic Golden Gate Bridge, with its span of 8,981 feet, took slightly more than four years to complete.

So far, the 315-foot span of the Washington Street bridge over Kansas City Southern tracks at Clark Street has taken 15 months. On Friday, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen granted another extension to Feb. 28, 2012 — eight months after the project’s first deadline. We certainly hope there will be no need for another extension.

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Unfortunately, the city contract with KCS includes no penalties for the project’s being late, only that KCS will have to pay for costs over the allotted $8.6 million for the project.

The bridge has been closed to traffic since January 2009. Businesses have suffered and it has been a tremendous inconvenience for those wanting to drive back and forth to downtown from Interstate 20. Six days worth of phone calls and e-mails by The Vicksburg Post reporters to KCS officials two weeks ago went unanswered.

Two weeks before the deadline, Vicksburg City Attorney Lee Davis Thames said he had heard nothing from KCS “officially,” though he expected the extension request. That lack of communication is abysmal at best.

The fact is the bridge needs to be repaired and reopened. City officials from Mayor Paul Winfield to Thames to acting city engineer Garnet Van Norman should be hammering the telephones every day. Winfield said he wants to see the project moving. Let’s see if his influence as mayor is worth his words.

Certainly times have changed drastically since the construction of the Empire State Building.