Streets set for paving get priority with sewer assessment program

Published 10:04 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

Seventeen city streets in the North and South wards to be paved under Vicksburg’s proposed $9.5 million capital improvements program will get first priority for the city’s sewer assessment program mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved a series of contract amendments totaling $598,768 with project engineers Allen & Hoshall of Ridgeland and contractor Sunbelt Infrastructure of Florence to put the streets at the top of list.

“We are in the process of designing street improvements to be paved and we felt it was necessary to do our sewer assessments and make any repairs that are necessary to our sewer system prior to paving the streets, so we’re not digging up new pavement,” City Attorney Nancy Thomas said.

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“This is to add those streets so they can do them first.”

“It’s very good that we’re doing that,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said. “This hopefully won’t bog us down in red tape or time, and we can get those assessments done and get these (sewer line) repairs and get the streets paved.”

Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said after the meeting Sunbelt has not sent a schedule indicating where it will start the tests. According to an alert on the city’s website, the smoke tests are expected to begin in June and continue through September.

The areas to be affected first include the neighborhoods along the following streets, which have been designated for paving under the capital improvements project:

4 North Ward: Martin Luther King from Jackson Street to the city limits; Mission 66 from Indiana to Sky Farm Avenue; Sky Farm 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.

The city is required to assess and map 10 percent of its 108-year-old sewer system per year for 10 years under a consent decree between the city and the EPA that was signed in 2013 after an EPA report cited the city for allowing raw sewage to be dumped into the Mississippi River and other local streams during a five-year period.

The board in March hired Allen & Hoshall to prepare the engineering for the project, and in April hired Sunbelt.

Besides the sewer assessment, the city had to pay a $17,000 fine and approve an ordinance regulating the disposal of grease and cooking fats in the city’s sewer system.

The grease ordinance set restrictions on the type and design of grease interceptors, which prevent grease, oils and fats from entering the sewer system, traps for retaining and separating waterborne greases and grease collection and facilities.

The board is awaiting approval from the Mississippi Development Bank to sell $9.5 million in general obligation bonds to fund the capital improvements program, which also includes upgrades to city parks and recreation facilities, city buildings, and the construction of a new pavilion at City Park on Lee Street, and at the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market site at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets.

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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