Aldermen to conduct individual street studies in their wards

Published 2:13 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

The city of Vicksburg will not be hiring an engineer to conduct a third study of the city’s streets.

Rather, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield and South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour will each have studies done on the streets in their respective ward at a cost of about $122,000 each.

Flaggs announced the move at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He said the money for the studies will come out of the $2 million per ward set aside for street paving. Money for the street work comes from the recently approved $11 million bond issue.

The board at an Oct. 12 work session on streets heard a presentation about a $245,000 comprehensive paving study by Waggoner Engineering president Emad Al-Turk that would use lasers to determine and update the condition of city streets, including below the surface, set a priority list and give an estimate to do the work.

Flaggs indicated he was not interested in performing another study, reminding the aldermen the previous studies were shelved and collecting dust.

Monday, Monsour supported the study.

“This one is very intense, it’s designed to tell us everything from the worst roads to the best roads so we won’t be political,” he said, adding the study will help determine what action, if any, needs to be taken.

“Some streets may only need to be sealed to give us another 10 years,” Monsour said. “But our automatic default in the past has been to do a layover and that’s the most expensive kind. You tear up everything and put 6 inches of asphalt down and it eats up $2 million real quick. We might be able to use this where we can fix some of our streets that need to be sealed to last longer. We’ll go more into that later.”

Mayfield said the infrastructure in Vicksburg, particularly in Old Vicksburg, which he represents, is more than 100 years old.

“We’ve had some serious cave-ins on some of our thoroughfares,” he said. “We had one so bad one time it took a garbage truck.”

Another cave-in, he said, was caused by an underground stream.

Mayfield said he hopes the study will provide information on the areas below the street.

Presently, he said, he and Monsour determine the conditions of streets by “eye-balling” the streets in their wards.

“We go through and we look at the severity of what we can see with our eyes; there’s a lot you have to look at when you talk about paving. There’s a lot more involved than just going out on a street and topping off and putting on new asphalt,” he said.

“We try to make sure when we pave a road that we know what’s going on under that road so we won’t pave it and have to go back and redo part of it,” he said. “I hope that this (the study) will take care of that and I hope, Mr. Mayor, that it will take the politics out of it.”

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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