Barry Plunkett looks forward to a smooth ride from his home to his business, Interiors Market in Woodland Hills Shopping Center, after Old Canton Road is resurfaced.
“It’s been needed a long, long time,” he said. “We’ve had major issues over the years that haven’t been repaired but just patched.”
Charles Williams, Ph.D., director of the Department of Public Works for the city of Jackson, said the project to improve the surface of Old Canton Road between North State Street and Meadowbrook Road should start this week and take about a month to complete.
Construction on the surface of the road was expected to begin in September but work was delayed in anticipation of Hurricane Sally.
A milling machine will remove the asphalt from the surface of the road and grind it in preparation for a 2- to 3-inch overlay of new asphalt and then striping, he said. The road will receive a slight slope in order to improve drainage.
A bike pathway, which will be separated from the vehicular traffic by a raised concrete strip, is also being added along the roadway
Once completed, the road will be reduced from three lanes to two. South of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, there is currently one south and one north-bound lane, as well as a center turn lane/striped area and bike lane.
“We’re still working on how we’ll transition the project at the school,” Williams said in a Sept. 23 story in the Northside Sun. There, it includes the two center lanes, as well as a south-bound merge lane to accommodate traffic from Meadowbrook Road, and a north-bound turn lane going onto Meadowbrook.
Dickerson & Bowen is the contractor for the project that involves slightly less than a 2- mile stretch of road.
Plunkett looks forward to the construction that will do away with the four dips on Old Canton Road between Duling Avenue and Meadowbrook that drivers who regularly travel along it know to avoid. His home sits near one of the dips and he’s grown accustomed to hearing the sound of a truck or a vehicle with a trailer hit a low spot and have its cargo shifts. “You can hear the cargo rattle,” he said.
Plunkett said he and his wife spent $2,000 in 2018 on new tires for their vehicles because of damage from hitting potholes.
“We replaced three of the four tires on my car and two on my wife’s car,” he said.
“We finally learned where the potholes are and how to dodge them.”
Construction to rebuild the sidewalks along Old Canton Road so they are more pedestrian friendly and comply with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations is almost complete, Weeks said.
To meet the ADA standards, broken sections of the sidewalk were removed and repaired in order to improve wheelchair and walker accessibility. Truncated domes, features that help the visually impaired know when they have reached an intersection, were added.
The project is being funded by proceeds from the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax. It is one of several Northside streets included in a $9.9 million road repaving contract approved by the city council in March.
Other streets included a second section of Old Canton from Canton Mart Road to Ridgewood Road, Canton Mart Road from Old Canton to I-55 North, Northside Drive from Ridgewood to I-55, Jefferson Street from Carlisle Street to Poplar Boulevard and Pear Orchard Road from County Line Road to Old Canton.
Pear Orchard was completed in May; after that, crews moved to Canton Mart and the first section of Old Canton, followed by East Northside. From there, attention went to Lakeland Drive.
Old Canton from Meadowbrook to North State averages 7,200 vehicles a day and provides a direct route many drivers use going to the Fondren Business District.
The last time the section from Meadowbrook south was repaved was in the 1980s. Since then, the street has deteriorated, due to use and to damage caused by underground infrastructure.
A study released by the city in 2017 showed that Old Canton was one of the busiest but worst major thoroughfares in Northeast Jackson. According to the report, conducted by Stantec Consulting Services, 25 sections of the street had fewer than four years of service life remaining.