Work scheduled to start next week on Cavalier and Meadowbrook bridges

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Two major bridge replacement projects are slated to get under way next week, with Jackson city officials expected to issue notices to proceed on the Meadowbrook Road and Cavalier Drive projects on October 28.

A notice to proceed is the official document contractors need to begin work on a government-sponsored project.

Meanwhile, the city has opened bids for but has not awarded a contract for the Hawthorn Drive bridge replacement project, due to a lack of funding.

As for the Meadowbrook project, residents have been anticipating the work for months.

The structure is located between East Ridge and Berlin drives, east of Ridgewood Road. It has been closed for a year and a half, with traffic diverted into nearby neighborhoods.

The bridge was closed following inspections by the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction. The wood pilings holding up the structure were rotted, making it unsafe for drivers.

In late June, Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote previously told a gathering of Northsiders that construction would begin in August.

However, the project was delayed, in part, to prevent the work from causing any serious water interruptions for nearby residents.

Connected to the bridge is an eight-inch water main, a transmission line that serves residences along Meadowbrook, Brussels Drive, London Avenue and others.

Jackson Engineering Manager Charles Williams said that line is connected to the existing Meadowbrook bridge, meaning it will have to be replaced along with the structure.

The line will be isolated, while the line in the ground will be capped, to prevent water pressure loss.

“Water will be re-directed to provide service to all residents,” Williams said.

Hemphill Construction was awarded a $376,000 contract in August. Once the notice to proceed is issued, contractors have 45 days to complete the project.

October 28 is also the date contractors will be issued a notice to proceed for the Cavalier replacement project.

Utility Constructors Incorporated (UCI) was awarded a $214,902 contract also this summer.

The bridge is located near Wood Dale Drive and runs over a tributary of Eubanks Creek.

State Aid inspections also led to its closure in the spring of 2018, after officials determined there were problems with the bridge’s timber pilings, headwalls and other timber components.

Headwalls are the structure used to maintain road formations around the bridges and to help prevent erosion.

Plans are to replace the wood pilings with a new box culvert. Culverts are less expensive and easier to install than new timber pilings. The culvert would allow water to flow under the bridge, much like the pilings had done.

UCI will have 90 calendar days to complete the project, excluding weekends and holidays.

While those projects are slated to begin, Jackson officials don’t have the money to replace the Hawthorn Drive structure.

Plans were to pay for the $466,000 project with funds from the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax.

However, at its meeting in October, the one-percent oversight commission tabled a request to fund the work, saying they weren’t sure if they had the money to pay for it.

The tax generates about $1.4 million a month. However, commissioners and officials with public works disagreed as to how much in one-percent funding was available for use.

Documents provided to oversight members suggested there was about $1.6 million in the bank, with another $14.3 million in obligated, but unspent, funds.

However, commissioners said the documents didn’t include recent expenditures, which would have put the one-percent account between $7 million and $13 million in the red.

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