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MDOT has not signed off on connector

Problems with the Wisconsin connector road at its intersection with North Frontage Road, are delaying the road’s opening, the city’s public works director said.

Public Works director Garnet Van Norman said the Mississippi Department of Transportations has declined to approve the because the curbing at the intersection of the connector road at its intersection with the frontage road, which is a state road apparently does not meet MDOT requirements.

MDOT’s approval is required before the road, which runs between North Frontage Road and Wisconsin Avenue, can be opened.

“They (contractor Dirt Works, engineer Neel-Shaffer and MDOT officials) are supposed to meet to discuss the problem and how to fix it,” he said. “The city is not involved in it.”

Attempts to contact Chuck Lott, the project engineer for the road, or Dirt Works officials were unsuccessful.

The problem is the latest delay in the city’s attempts to open the road.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen awarded the contract to Dirt Works in April with an expected completion date in September, but weather and a problem with the soil in one area of the project site forced the deadline to be pushed back.

The city also had to reach agreement with River Hills Bank to repair construction damage to its parking lot before it could get the final permit from MDOT.

In October, a problem with an existing sewer line from the former Battlefield Mall, which once occupied the site, resulted in the board approving a change order to allow Dirt Works to install a conflict box in a section of the road to resolve the problem.

The board in December sought an extension through March on the $1.3 million Mississippi Development Authority CAP loan to build the road.

The connector road runs between the River Hills Bank property and the site of the Cannon Honda and Cannon Toyota dealerships that are being built west of the bank to connect North Frontage with Wisconsin Avenue.

Plans for the road began in 2014 after a decision by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone a 22-acre tract along North Frontage owned by JEBCO LLC, the parent company for Blackburn Motors, from C-4 commercial to planned use development, which opened the way for the road.

A planned use development, or PUD, designation allows light industrial operations, clearing the way for the city to apply for the MDA loan.

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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