One CallBy ANTHONY WARREN,
County steps up assistance in pothole repairs for the city
Pothole relief is coming to the Northside by way of District One Supervisor Robert Graham.
The supervisor is urging residents to dial him directly when they have pothole problems, and county crews will fix them.
Depending on the condition and severity of the pothole, Graham said repairs could be made within a week.
“Sometimes it will be a day or two before we get to them, but we will get to them,” he said. “Whenever we get a call, we go.”
The county’s been filling potholes in the city on and off for years, but never to the magnitude of repairing them now.
In February, the board of supervisors allocated an additional $100,000 on top of the county’s road budget, strictly for pothole maintenance in Jackson.
“I’m looking at six pothole requests I have to turn in right now,” he told the Sun. “Two on Watkins Drive, one request in front of the Salvation Army on Presto Lane … They’ve got about 40 potholes in front of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We’re probably going to have to do what we call a ‘patch-pave,’ ” he said.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba welcomes the help. “The city’s needs are so immense that we’d like to embrace every willing partner, group or person operating out of good will and sincerity,” he said.
Chief Administrative Officer Robert Blaine backed up the mayor’s statements. “The city is a very large part of the county. We’re all in this together,” he said.
“We’ve been filling them all over. We’re on Meadowbrook Road, Ridgewood Road, Riverwood Drive, Watkins Drive. We’ve done Orchardview Drive. We filled one on Valley Vista but had to go back,” he said. “We’ve done them on Fairwood Circle, Fairwood Street, Oak Hill Drive, Beechwood Drive. Some of the ones we did potholes on, we went back and repaved.”
County crews are making the repairs.
The news comes as Jackson struggles with manpower and money shortages, as well as broken down equipment, all of which have hindered the city’s maintenance efforts.
In March, the Sun reported that one pothole machine had been down for months.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s streets continue to crumble. A 2013 report released in 2017 showed that 73 percent of the city’s 1,200 miles of paved roadway were rated “poor,” “very poor,” or “fair.” At the time of the report, nearly a third of the Northside’s major thoroughfares had fewer than one year of “remaining service life” due to years of lack of maintenance.
Data was compiled by Stantec Consulting Services and used special equipment to evaluate the surface conditions of all Jackson roadways.
Heavy rains have exacerbated the problem, with water causing new potholes to form and existing ones to get worse.
“We’re constantly getting calls from people who have repeat pothole problems, where it was fixed but is messed up again because of weather,” Graham said.
Costs for repairing potholes vary, depending in part on its severity and location.
“Every pothole is different. If you have a pothole that is three feet wide and three feet deep, it would cost $60 worth of materials to repair it,” Graham said. “That’s excluding labor.”
A pothole located on the side of a neighborhood street would also be less expensive and easier to repair than one located in the middle of a busier roadway. In each case, crews are needed to not only to fix the problem, but also to put up cones and monitor traffic. Busier roads require more workers, who are needed to direct traffic.
Said Graham, “Without the obstacles, (crews) could do it in 15 to 20 minutes.”
District One runs from County Line Road in the north to Fortification Street and East Northside Drive and I-55 in the south. It is bordered by the Pearl River to the east. To the northwest, the district extends past I-220.
To report a pothole, call Graham at (601) 714-6219, or the pothole hotline at (601) 857-ROAD.