City clears another hurdle in South Frontage Road project

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Wednesday approved two items that could clear the way for relocating city utility lines on South Frontage Road, officials said.

The board’s action authorizes Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to make offers to acquire rights of way on two properties along South Frontage Road, and to apply for Mississippi Department of Transportation permits to relocate the lines along the road.

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“The final hurdles,” Flaggs said.

Neither Flaggs nor Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour would predict when the relocation would go out for bids. “We’re moving and that’s the good thing,” Monsour said.

City Attorney Nancy Thomas said the rights of way involve getting easements on two pieces of property on Porters Chapel Road to relocate the lines. She said the MDOT permits are required because the city will be relocating the lines on portions of the state’s right of way.

The utilities relocation is the final project before work can begin on the South Frontage Road extension, which will link the Outlets at Vicksburg and other restaurants and businesses on East Clay Street and U.S. 80 to the west side of South Frontage Road. Project plans call for an overpass crossing the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks to link the east and west sides.

The relocation was delayed while MDOT engineers and representative of Waggoner Engineering reviewed and made changes in the plans for the project. Thomas said the permit is part of the approval of the engineering by MDOT.

In 2007, a Federal Highway Administration study on the project issued a “finding of no significant impact,” clearing the way for the project. Four years later, the Mississippi Department of Transportation bought five properties along the road to secure rights of way for the project, and in April 2014, the Legislature approved $4 million in its fiscal 2015 highway budget to begin planning the South Frontage Road expansion.

The Legislature later allocated another $18 million toward the project.

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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