Motorists urged to use caution as workers continue fire loop project

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 23, 2002

West Cherokee Street motorists should encounter some one-waytraffic this week, but construction officials say the upcoming roadpatching work will lessen the dust and mud that have inconveniencedcitizens in recent weeks.

A section of road removed during installation of Whitworth FireLoop water lines is scheduled to be replaced this week, officialssaid.

“The plan is, if it doesn’t rain, to dig the road out Sunday andasphalt it Monday,” said Jessie Neal, general superintendent withGreenbriar, following a meeting last week with city officials.

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This week’s work does not include a complete resurfacing, onlyreplacing asphalt that was removed for line installation. Patchingwill require two days of lane closures.

Neal said West Cherokee Street between Whitworth Avenue andJackson Street would be completely closed early Sunday. It will beopen for one-way, eastbound traffic later Sunday and Monday.

Following that block, Neal said, crews will move west followinga similar pattern to near Brookway Boulevard.

“The road will shut down for two days a block at a time as weasphalt it,” Neal said.

Construction officials stressed that the work pattern woulddepend on the weather. They indicated the work schedule would bepushed back depending on rain possibilities.

“We’ll just have to watch the weather,” Neal said.

Neal indicated larger sections of road could be done if theweather cooperates. However, engineer Jeff Green, who is overseeingthe project for the city, said that would not be possible ininclement weather.

“If the weather’s bad, you don’t want to be doing any bigstretches,” Green said.

Some business owners and residents have complained of dusty ormuddy streets and the impact of the water line work on theirbusinesses. Neal said the Sunday work was an effort to try toaccommodate businesses.

“The whole purpose of working on Sunday is to try to keepbusinesses from having as many delays,” Neal said.

Once the trench patching is done, Green said the road can bewashed down to remove any excess dirt. Neal said the road will thenbe basically the same as when the water line work started.

“We want to get as much dirt off the road as we can,” Nealsaid.

The South Jackson Street and West Cherokee Street area is thefirst section to be addressed in the approximately $950,000 projectto install larger water lines to service the Mississippi School ofthe Arts on the Whitworth College campus and the rest of thedowntown area. Its targeted completion date is Nov. 27.

The second section will be the remainder of Jackson Street toCherry Street. The final area will involve West Congress Street toHartman Street.

Green reported good progress on the project. He said, overall,the project is going well.

“I feel like it has been far less of a concern than weoriginally thought,” Green said. “We’re definitely on schedule, butI wouldn’t say we’re ahead of schedule.”