Design work is expected to get under way soon on the Museum Boulevard repaving project.
Officials with the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID) recently held a “kick-off” meeting with Waggoner Engineering, AJA Consultants and CDFL Architects and Engineers, the firms working on the project.
Next up, crews will begin coordinating the project with the city, to determine design works meet city guidelines. Consultants also will do an assessment of the Museum Boulevard area to determine soil and other underground conditions, said Chuck McIntosh, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). DFA is the agency that oversees projects within the CCID.
Design work will take about 210 days to complete. From there, construction will be bid out. McIntosh said the bid process will take approximately 45 days, per state statute.
“We hope to begin construction in 2020, but we have no idea what we will find (during the design process),” McIntosh said. He said it’s too early to say how long construction would take, and whether work would be done under traffic.
“At this time, we don’t know but we will communicate with the public as decisions are made. Ideally, we hope we can work on one side (of the road) and then the other, so the museums can continue operations with little to no downtime for them.”
The $1.8 million project will include a mill and overlay a 3,600-foot section of the road from Riverside Drive to where Museum Boulevard changes from four lanes to two lanes. Work also will include making curb and gutter repairs as needed.
The road is located right off of Lakeland Drive, near the Lakeland/I-55 North intersection. It is home to the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.
Children’s museum President and CEO Susan Garrard said she’s looking forward to the work, and believes DFA will work with the museums to alleviate any construction concerns that might arise.
“DFA has always had good communications with us and we assume they will continue,” she said.
The museum building and property it sits on is owned by the state and administered by DFA.
Garrard said the work is needed to make Museum Boulevard safer and to help Mississippi put its best foot forward in welcoming guests.
The roadway serves as a gateway of sorts to some of the area’s top tourist destinations. The children’s museum, for instance, averages around 200,000 visitors a year. The science museum averages around 100,000 visitors annually.
“We see people from all over the country and international visitors,” Garrard said.
The boulevard was chosen as one of eight priorities in the first CCID master plan.
Projects were chosen based on several criteria, including “proximity and access to state facilities,” “stakeholder priority,” “immediate impact,” “economic and community impact,” “public health and safety,” “condition and level of service,” and “funding source.”
Streets that provide direct access to state-owned facilities, like the Mississippi Capitol Building or the museum of natural science, receive higher scores than roads that do not.
Lawmakers established the CCID in 2017, to help the city offset costs for providing municipal services, such as fire and police protection, to state-owned facilities. State buildings are tax-exempt, meaning the city provides those services free-of-charge.
As part of the legislation, the state agreed to divert an additional percentage of sales tax revenues generated within the city to pay for projects within it.
Spending was placed under the purview of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), and a special advisory panel was set up to provide input.
However, before any funds could be spent, the state mandated that a master plan be drawn up to map out spending.
The first plan was drawn up by Waggoner, AJA and CDFL, with the input of DFA, the city of Jackson and the advisory panel.
The nine-member panel includes appointees from the governor’s office, lieutenant governor’s office, speaker of the House, the city of Jackson, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Jackson State University.
North to south, the CCID runs from Meadowbrook Road to Hooker Street and from Jackson State University in the west to the Pearl River and the LeFleur Museum District in the east.