Aldermen: Put plan in place first

Published 11:35 am Friday, May 8, 2015

Vicksburg’s two aldermen want to have plans and specifications ready to pave a total of 17 streets in the city’s North and South wards once the city begins receiving funds from an $18 million general obligation bond issue for capital improvements.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen April 24 announced its intention to borrow up to $18 million for capital improvements in two phases. The money is expected to be in the city’s accounts by late June or early July.

At $4.6 million, paving takes up almost half of the $9.5 million the board intends to spend on the first phase.

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“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” North Ward Aldermen Michael Mayfield said. “[South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson] and I selected the most traveled streets in the city. Some of them have (road) base problems because of old water and sewer lines under them. That means we’ll have to repair or replace those old lines while we’re doing the work, because you don’t want to pave them and them have to dig them up five years later because of a bad road base.”

Mayfield and Thompson were appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to set the paving priority list for the program. Besides setting the paving list, each selected a different engineer for their respective wards. Mayfield selected Stantec, while Thompson chose AJA of Jackson.

Thompson said the priority list could change after the city receives a report on an assessment of city streets from Applied Research Associates Inc. of Champaign, Ill. The board hired the company to do an assessment of city streets to determine problems in the roadbed, base and paving.

The majority of the roads are in Mayfield’s district and include Mission 66, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and sections of Washington and Monroe streets. Mayfield said road base problems were found on Mission 66 and Martin Luther King. Thompson’s list includes Warrenton Road, Halls Ferry Road, Manship Circle and Suncrest Drive in Fox Run Subdivision off Belva Drive and Charleston Drive in Savannah Subdivision off Indiana Avenue.

“None of the streets in those subdivisions had a base or had been paved,” he said. “Warrenton Road is a priority. We’ve been working on it off and on, and we still have problems. We need to get in there and fix it.”

The aldermen said they selected separate engineers to prepare the plans and specifications to have projects can go out for bids.

“We’re looking at getting the money sometime probably July,” Mayfield said. “That means we have August, September and possibly October to do any paving. That’s a tight window, because when it gets to November and winter, it won’t be paving weather, and the asphalt plants will slow down making asphalt.”

“Having two engineers saves time, because they can work on different projects and it makes it easier to have everything ready,” Thompson said. “We want to have everything in place when the money is available so we can get as much paving as we can.”

The complete road lists include:

4 North Ward: Martin Luther King from Jackson Street to the city limits; Mission 66 from Indiana to Sky Farm Avenue; Skyfarm from Mission 66 to Ash Street; all of Farmer Street, Grove Street from Adams Street to Farmer Street, and from First North to Mission 66; First North from Harrison Street to Grove Street; South Street from First North to Howard Street, and from Cherry Street to Locust Street; Monroe Street from West Pine to South Street, and from Clay Street to China Street; Washington Street from First East to Grove Street.

4 South Ward: Warrenton Road, Halls Ferry Road, Cypress Centre Boulevard, Fleetwood Drive, Manship Circle, Suncrest Drive, Charleston Drive and St. Charles Place.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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