Unusually bad weathers cited as reason of delay in north state project

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Wet weather continues to slow down the North State Street Reconstruc-tion Project.

The roughly $22 million project includes rebuilding a roughly two-mile section of the busy roadway from Hartfield Street to Sheppard Road.

Construction got under way in January 2018. The project was initially expected to wrap up the spring of 2020, but has been pushed back to summer of that year. Work has fallen behind because of unusually bad weather.

As of last week, 41 percent of the project had been completed, while 66 percent of the contract time had elapsed, according to engineers with Neel-Schaffer, the project managers.

“The reason we’re behind is because the earthwork has now gone as (expected),” said Neel-Schaffer Executive Vice Presi-dent Robert Walker.

The project was discussed at the most recent one-percent oversight commission meeting. Work is being funded with a portion of a $19.5 million federal TIGER Grant and one-percent funds.

Jackson Traffic Engineer Robert Lee backed up Walker’s statement. “There’s been a lot of rain, and it’s slowed productivity. Last year, we had the second-wettest year on record. It impacted construction of our road projects,” he said. “You can’t bring in dirt (to fill holes) when water has to drain out of them.”

The project includes digging up the existing roadway, replacing the water and sewer mains underneath and rebuilding the road’s substructure. Contractors can not do that earthwork in the rain.

While work is behind schedule, progress has been made. From Northside Drive to Sheppard, construction on the northbound and middle lanes have been completed. Traffic has been shifted to those lanes while crews work on the southbound section. On that portion, contractors have installed new water, sewer and storm drains, and are now doing earthwork.

Between Hartfield and Choctaw Street, crews have completed the installation of new water and sewer mains under the northbound and middle lanes, while the storm was nearing completion.

“We’re replacing lots of water and sewer along the way,” Walker said.

Lines are being repaired and replaced, so the street won’t have to be dug up later to make repairs.

Once completed, North State will be reduced from four lanes to two lanes from Hartfield to Choctaw and to two lanes and a turn lane from Choctaw to Sheppard. A 10-foot-wide multi-use path is being built along the southbound lane from Hartfield to Northside, and along the northbound lane from Northside to Sheppard.

Hemphill construction is doing the work.

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