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Contract to complete South Frontage Road expansion expected soon

A project two decades in the making may soon begin construction. According to state transportation officials, a Columbia contractor could soon be awarded the contract for the long-discussed South Frontage Road extension.

Central District Transportation Commission Dick Hall said Tuesday T.L Wallace Construction of Columbia submitted the low bid of $17.33 million for the project. The bid was more than $450,000 under the project’s estimate of $17.80 million.

Hall said the bid would be discussed at the Commission’s first meeting in September, adding he expects the commission to award the contract to T.L. Wallace.

“I can’t imagine any reason it will not be awarded,” he said.

If the contract is awarded, Hall expects the contractor to begin as soon as possible.

“Being in August, you want to get that thing going as soon as you can. There’s still a lot of good construction (days) left before January,” Hall said. “I’ll be surprised if they don’t get it underway by the end of the year.”

The South Frontage Road expansion project is designed to link restaurants, hotels and businesses on East Clay Street and U.S. 80 to the west side of South Frontage Road using an overpass crossing the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks.

“The Economic Development Partnership is excited to see MDOT move forward with this important project for our community,” said Pablo Diaz, president of the Vicksburg-Warren Economic Development Partnership. “We will continue to work with community stakeholders to formulate strategies that help us take advantage of this development to support job creation and investment in the area.”

The South Frontage Road extension has been discussed for more than 20 years.

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, the Legislature approved $4 million in its fiscal 2015 highway budget to begin planning the South Frontage Road expansion.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen in April 2018 awarded a $1.576 million bid to relocate the utility lines along South Frontage Road to Hemphill Construction of Florence. The project was completed in June.

“We’re absolutely glad that time has finally come,” Flaggs said of the announcement.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time, because I believe that road is going to make a huge difference in economic development for the city.”

 

 

 

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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