Officials: Fire loop work in final stages

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 9, 2002

A section of West Congress Street remained closed last week, butcrews working on the Whitworth Fire Loop project say it should becompleted by the end of the year.

“We’ve got new water lines installed. We’re swapping overservices now,” said Jessie Neal, general superintendent forGreenbriar Digging Service.

The $950,000 project, which has included several downtownstreets, Jackson Street and some other areas, has involvedinstallation of larger water lines to serve the Mississippi Schoolof the Arts on the Whitworth campus and other areas of the city.After new lines have been laid and water tested, individual homeand business services have been changed from the old lines to thenew lines.

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“My objective is to get this thing finished before Christmas,”Neal said.

Lanny Dickey, Brookhaven Water Department superintendent,estimated the project to be about 90-95 percent completed. He saidabout two to three more weeks of work remain.

“All the new main lines are in the ground,” Dickey said. “We’vegot to switch over services. That’s going to take some time.”

Neal said the Hartman Street intersection is the end of workdone on West Congress Street. He added that some work remains to bedone on Schwem Avenue.

“It’s really not going to be an inconvenience for thecustomers,” Neal said of nearby businesses.

Neal said replacement paving is needed over some areas where newwater lines have been installed. Pointing out that the temperaturemust be 40 degrees or higher for paving to be done, Neal saidrecent cold weather has hindered progress.

“Weather like this, you can’t get anything done,” Neal said.

During the project, Dickey said a number of old, unknown lineshave been discovered. He said many of those are being “killed” asnew water service is connected using the new lines.

Neal also mentioned the condition of some of the existing linesthat were replaced.

“This project is going to benefit Brookhaven. There were somerotten lines under there,” Neal said.

In other city work by Greenbriar, Neal said crews will beworking on High School Street beginning Monday.

Neal said the road between Brookhaven High School and RosehillCemetery would be closed while a new 36-inch drainage pipe isinstalled. He estimated the project would take about two to threeweeks.

“The weather’s got a lot to do with it,” Neal said.

City officials are looking at paving options followingcompletion of the Whitworth Fire Loop project. Aldermen havebudgeted $300,000 for paving next year.

Jimmy Furlow, city traffic supervisor, said how much paving isdone will depend on how much milling is needed. Milling is anexpensive part of the paving process that involves removal ofexisting asphalt on a street.

“The downtown area, we’re not going to have to mill,” Furlowsaid. “We may have to mill some of the other streets.”

Where milling is not needed, streets can be overlaid with a newlayer of asphalt.

Furlow said the estimated cost for paving downtown streets is$70,000-$75,000. Those areas include Cherokee Street from ChurchStreet to First Street, and Railroad and Whitworth Avenues fromMonticello Street to Chickasaw Street.

Furlow said he would be assessing milling needs and gettingmeasurements on other streets affected by the fire loop project todetermine paving costs. He said he would present the estimates tothe mayor and board of aldermen later.

“We’ll have to see what we can do at that point,” Furlowsaid.

Furlow did not have a timetable for when the new paving would bedone. Also mentioning the weather, he said officials want to letthe replacement paving work settle before starting any newpaving.