Repairs to utility lines delay paving in North Ward

Published 8:43 pm Friday, March 24, 2017

Phase two of the North Ward paving project will wait until construction crews repair or replace damaged or broken utility lines under the selected streets, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said.

City officials plan to overlay three streets under the second phase of the city’s street paving plan — Skyfarm Avenue from Mission 66 to Wabash Street, Farmer Street from Skyfarm to Mundy Street, and Washington Street from First East Street to Jackson Street.

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The paving project has not been advertised for bids. The city earlier in March awarded a bid to Suncoast Infrastructure to start repairing damaged sewer lines located during an assessment of a portion of the city’s sewer system, performed in 2016 by Suncoast.

“We’re going to have to replace entire lines,” Mayfield said Monday at a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“I refuse to go out there and start slinging pavement and then as soon as you get it there, the street caves in,” Mayfield said.

“That’s why we did that study, so we could make sure we know what’s going on underground with our sewer and other lines.

“There’s going to be some inconveniences, to say the least, because of having to direct traffic (because of construction) on areas like Skyfarm and Farmer, and your other streets in the heart of the city, where you only have two lanes. So be prepared, be patient; we want to make sure it’s done right.”

Mayfield also wants to straighten a sharp curve in Skyfarm west of Cedar Hill Cemetery, and flatten a section of the street that is tilted. “There’s a lot of traffic that comes through that area because of the city cemetery,” he said.

He wants to move the road about 10 feet or more south of its present location to straighten the street “and get past some of the serious under linings there.” Moving the road would require removing a section of a hill on the south side and possibly installing a retaining wall to prevent erosion.

Besides utility lines, he said, the area is also affected by underground streams.

“Everything north of Grove Street is totally inundated with either underground springs and utilities that are expanding and retracting,” Mayfield said.

“That’s probably where our worst problems are in the north ward.”

He said he has been meeting with public works director Garnet Van Norman to discuss moving the road.

“We’re going to be as aggressive as we can be, but I’m not ready to hang my hat on it yet.”

The first phase of paving in the North Ward was completed in 2016, and included Mission 66 and Martin Luther King, and several streets in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

A total of $4.6 million in the city’s $9.2 million bond issue was allocated for the paving, with $2.3 million for set aside for work in each ward.

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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