‘Get it Moving’By ANTHONY WARREN,
Several major road projects completed, nearly completed
Weather pending, crews are expected to wrap up work on a $4 million street repaving project in April.
The work, which includes repaving three Northside streets, is being funded with Jackson’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax, a sign that Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is serious about showing residents that revenues from the tax are being well spent.
“One of the objectives I thought was important was to demonstrate the value of the tax and get it moving much faster than it had previously,” he said. “At this point, nearly every dollar is committed to some project.”
The tax was implemented in March 2014. Since then, the assessment has generated approximately $68.8 million.
Through December, $58 million had been obligated.
Thirteen projects included in the first-year master plan, approved in 2015, have been completed, while engineering work has wrapped up on six others.
Work is also finished on a $9.8 million neighborhood street repaving project and on a $4.7 million major thoroughfare overlay project.
Meanwhile, work continues on the North State Street Reconstruction Project, while repaving projects for another section of North State, East Northside Drive and Woodrow Wilson Avenue are expected to be bid out in a matter of weeks.
“There are projects in every ward that have been announced, so I’m looking forward to all of them being done,” Lumumba said.
Of first year projects, crews have finished water line replacement projects on Eastover Drive and Woodell Drive, bridge replacement projects along West Street, Robinson Road, Hanging Moss Road and Ready-Mix Drive, drainage improvements along Lynch Creek and Brookhollow Circle, and the resurfacing of Lofton Street.
Also, contractors repaired some 200 utility cuts in all four city precincts and completed work on a comprehensive drainage study.
Meanwhile, engineers drew up designs for drainage improvements for Eubanks Creek tributary six, Belhaven Creek and Eubanks Creek, and for Woodrow Wilson Avenue to Erie Street.
Specifications have also been drawn up for the second phase of the Eastover Drive water main replacement project, Lawrence Road water line improvements, and Hanging Moss Road water line improvements.
The commission has not set aside funding for the Eastover project and has de-obligated funding for the Lawrence Road and Hanging Moss Work, Engineering Manager Charles Williams said.
“We looked at money that was tied up in several projects that were not going forward for several years and looked at how we could take advantage of some lower-hanging fruit to give (people) some relief,” Lumumba said.
Lumumba said projects like Lawrence Road and Hanging Moss aren’t being abandoned and can likely be funded down the road.
In addition to projects laid out in the master plan, funds have also been used to help pave roads in time for the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums, as well as help address emergency water and sewer needs.
In late 2017, commissioners approved spending millions to repave several downtown streets to coincide with the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums.
A few months later, in March 2018, the commission gave Jackson $6.9 million in one-percent funds to reimburse the water system for making emergency water and sewer repairs dating back to September 2016, and in August, commissioners awarded Jackson a $7.25 million loan to make 15 emergency sewer main repairs.
Those allocations were followed up with nearly $4 million approved for road repaving projects across the city, as well as $4 million, which was awarded to Jackson to cover consent decree program management costs.
Northsiders have benefited directly from the allocations. Of the $6.9 million allocated for emergency water repairs, work was completed at Woodland Hills Place, Winchester Street and Meadow Heights Drive in 2017, as well emergency repairs made during Jackson 2018 winter water crisis.
The Woodland Hills work cost approximately $335,000, while the Winchester work and Meadow Heights work ran $150,000 and $583,000 respectively.
The water crisis cost the city around $1.6 million and included repairing some 300 burst water mains across Jackson.
The $7.25 million went to cover 15 sewer main breaks, including five on the Northside. Those failures included ones at 1055 Meadowbrook Rd., 5475 Ridgewood Rd., 1755 Lelia Dr., 2614 Southerland Dr., and 133 Cherry Hills Dr.
The breaks are a source of sanitary sewer overflows and must be repaired under terms of Jackson’s sewer consent decree.
Crews have wrapped up work on a number of those projects.
Meanwhile, public works hopes to bid out two road repaving projects this spring. In January, the city council approved awarding Dickerson and Bowen a $2.45 million contract to mill and overlay East Northside Drive from the I-55 North frontage road to North State Street.
The council approved the measure on a 6-0 vote. However, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is requiring that the project be re-bid, because estimates came in significantly over budget. Engineers estimated the work would cost around $1.8 million.
The project is being funded with a $1.4 million federal transportation grant awarded through the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District (CMPDD) and one-percent funds. The commission agreed to pay $400,000 to cover the project’s local match but increased the amount to cover cost overruns associated with the bid.
Because federal funds are being used on the work, each phase has to be signed off on by MDOT.
The city also received $1.86 million in federal grant monies to repave North State from Fortification Street to Woodrow Wilson.
North State and East Northside are two of the busiest thoroughfares in Northeast Jackson. Between Fortification and Woodrow Wilson, North State averages around 18,000 vehicles a day. Northside averages about 20,000 a day, MDOT traffic count maps show.
While those streets were still on the drawing board, crews were wrapping up work on nearly a dozen roadways approved as part of a $4 million repaving plan late last year.
Of those streets, three are on the Northside: Duling Avenue and Fondren Place in Fondren, and Ridgewood Court Drive in Northeast Jackson.
Duling was being striped last week.
Work also continues on the North State Street and West County Line Road TIGER grant projects.
The second phase of the State Street improvements got under way in January. It includes rebuilding the southbound lane of North State from Northside Drive to Sheppard Road.
In all, the TIGER grant is funded a complete rebuild of North Sate from Hartfield Drive to Sheppard, reducing the street to two lanes from Hartfield and Choctaw Road and to two lanes and a turn lane from Choctaw to Sheppard.
One-percent funds are being used for the project’s local match.