The 20,000 motorists that travel along East Northside Drive could get a newly paved roadway as a Christmas gift.
Jackson city officials say weather pending, work on the $2.4 million Northside Drive repaving project could be completed by Christmas.
The project includes milling and overlaying the street, repairing sidewalks and repairing the road base between I-55 North and North State Street.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced that the project was getting started last week.
“Anyone who has traveled Northside Drive in the recent months or in the last couple of years knows the terrible condition the road is in,” he said. “This is truly an exciting day and we’re happy we have arrived here.”
Engineering Manager Charles Williams said the project could be “substantially completed” by late December, if weather permits. “We will have to have some very good weather to do that,” he said. “It’s really going to depend on the weather.”
The road is one of the busiest thoroughfares on the Northside, serving several schools, churches, businesses and apartment complexes. It is characterized by numerous potholes, some of which drivers swerve to avoid to prevent tire and rim damage.
About 20,000 vehicles travel the road each day, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation figures.
Crews were putting up orange traffic cones last week. Initial work will include bringing sidewalks into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards and making repairs to the concrete base under the asphalt.
Base repairs will include filling in cracks in the base, as well as smoothing out areas that have uneven pavement.
“It will probably be two months before we begin milling the street,” Williams said.
Milling will include removing all of Northside Drive’s existing asphalt, so new asphalt can be poured. If the existing pavement is not removed, the new coat of asphalt will not stick.
During the milling and overlay, traffic on both sides of the street will be reduced to one lane. Some temporary lane closures also will occur during the base repair phase, Williams explained.
The project is being funded by a federal grant and the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax. Jackson received a $1.4 million federal FAST Act grant through the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District. The local match came from one-percent revenues.
Because federal funds are being used on the project, each phase of the project must be signed off on by MDOT.
Early this year, the city council awarded Dickerson and Bowen a $2,452,000 contract to do the work. However, MDOT required the project to be rebid because work came in significantly over budget, Williams said.
The project was bid again, and a roughly $2.4 million contract was awarded to APAC Mississippi.