New state regulations postpones Lake Harbour for estimated two years

By ANTHONY WARREN,

A much-anticipated road project planned for the Northside will take an extra year and a half and $100,000 to complete, thanks to new state regulations.

Work includes building a flyover bridge over I-55 north and adding additional box culverts to improve drainage under the Canadian National Railroad.

The Lake Harbour Drive extension project was slated to wrap up by the end of 2018.

However, after having to restart the design review process, the project will likely not be completed until April 2020, according to Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee.

“We procured the right-of-way, moved the utilities and were going through the review of the design, and MDOT (Mississippi Department of Transportation) told us they had a new Redbook and we had to start again,” he said.

All federally funded road projects must go through a lengthy review process with the state, which is outlined in the “Mississippi Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction,” also referred to as the Redbook.

A new Redbook was published in 2017, after Ridgeland had already begun its review of the project’s construction design documents.

Ridgeland was previously operating under the 2004 Redbook, the last updated edition.

“We had to update our construction documents based on the new specifications. That cost us another $100,000,” McGee said.

The city cannot bid the project out for construction until the designs are signed off on by the state.

Engineers with Waggoner Engineering submitted the construction design in August 2017 and resubmitted it earlier this year.

McGee hopes the review will be completed this summer. “We’re just waiting on final authorization from MDOT to bid the project.”

The project was not grandfathered in because no provisions in the Redbook allow for it, according to Central Mississippi Planning and Development (CMPDD) Director Mike Monk.

CMPDD administers federal funds for many road projects, including the Lake Harbour extension.

The roughly $28 million project includes extending Lake Harbour from U.S. 51 to Highland Colony Parkway south of the Old Agency Road roundabout.

 

The project is being funded with a combination of local, state and federal dollars.

The city received a $10 million earmark from Congress, as well as $3.3 million in federal funds awarded through CMPDD.  Ridgeland received another $1.5 million from the state and $1 million from the Madison County board of supervisors.

The city will make up the remaining amount through bonds.

The first phase, replacing the box culverts, was bid out in October. The city is expected to open bids on that work this month.

The entire project is expected to take 18 months to complete.

 

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