Jackson will receive some extra help from the city’s one-percent oversight commission to help pave East Northside Drive.
Recently, the city asked the commission for an extra $600,000 to cover costs for the project, after bids came in significantly higher than engineers’ estimates.
The commission approved the request unanimously, after engineers explained why there was such a discrepancy.
Jim Stewart, an engineer with Southern Consultants, said the estimates were based in part off of unit prices from a similar repaving project on Terry Road.
“We did not do the design phase. We did the construction phase,” he said. “The only difference between the two projects is Northside’s traffic is a little more.”
Stewart said several factors could have contributed to the higher bids, including the rising cost of supplies and labor, as well as the fact that asphalt companies are currently inundated with work.
The Terry Road project was priced about eight to 10 months prior to Southern completing the Northside Drive estimates.
Engineers said inflation was taken into consideration.
The project’s costs also could have been higher because of state requirements.
Work is subject to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) review, because it is being funded in large part with federal dollars.
The $2.4 million project will include milling and overlaying Northside from the I-55 North frontage road to North State Street. Crews will also repair bad sections in the substructure and bring sidewalks into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Southern Consultants scoped the work and estimated the project to cost around $1.8 million.
The estimates were completed around June, and bids were opened in November.
Three firms submitted proposals through the blind bid process, and Dickerson and Bowen came in with the lowest bid, for approximately $2.4 million, Jackson Engineering Manager Charles Williams said.
“This is up to us whether we want to move forward,” he said. “We won’t get a better price if we re-bid.”
With relatively little debate, Commissioner Jonathan Lee motioned that the additional funding be awarded. The measure was approved unanimously.
The city received a $1.4 million grant through the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District.
The grant requires a 20 percent match in local dollars. Commissioners previously allocated $400,000 for the project.
Northside is traveled by approximately 20,000 vehicles a day.
Work on the project is expected to get under way in early 2019.
Since it’s inception, Jackson’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax has generated more than $65 million for city needs.
Through November 2018, the tax had brought in $65,390,659 in revenues, or around $14.5 million a year.
Of that, the city obligated $58 million for various infrastructure improvements and had $7.4 million in cash on hand, according to city documents.
The tax was approved by Jackson voters in January 2014, and the tax went into effect in March.
Funds generated by the tax are placed in escrow for use specifically on road, water, sewer and drainage needs.