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Aldermen award contract for downtown resurfacing

Following several delays, Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday movedcloser to paving activity downtown.

The board awarded a $590,089 contract to Dickerson and Bowen forthe project, which has been planned since before the Whitworth FireLoop water project in 2002. A required handicap study and problemswith bids and available funds contributed to the delay.

“This has been a while in coming,” Mayor Bob Massengill saidfollowing the board action.

Engineer Jeff Green said the Mississippi Department ofTransportation will have to agree on awarding the contract becauseit is more than 10 percent over the engineer’s estimate of projectcosts. With the approval process, he estimated it would take abouta month before work could begin.

“We would try to expedite that,” Green said about gettingapproval.

Green said the bid is 13 percent over the engineer’s estimate.The overage is reflected in the amount of earth work and drainagethat will be needed and uncertainty about how much base streetrepairs will have to be done, with could actually be less thanestimated.

Sidewalk work for handicap-accessibility ramps will be donefirst and during the day, Green said. Milling and paving of streetsis expected to be done at night.

“It’s a lot better for them and everybody involved to do themilling and paving at night,” Green said.

Massengill said the city’s first commitment is to the area ofJackson Street affected by the fire loop.

“We’ve got to get the downtown paved. Then we’ll start dealingwith other areas,” Massengill said.

City officials will also seek to have striping done atnight.

The city is using accumulated federal transportation funds topay for the paving work. Aldermen also revised the budget lastnight to ensure sufficient required city matching funds.

In other city project activity, Green said activity on a NorthCenter Street paving and widening project could begin as early asJune.

The timetable depends on getting easements from affectedproperty owners on the street and approval of a supplementalagreement for the work to be done in connection with the IndustrialPark overpass project. Remaining funds following the new overpassare being used for North Center Street project.

Also in the area of street activity, aldermen set asideSaturday, July 30, as the day for a celebration and dedicationservices for the new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. HamiltonStreet was recently renamed in honor of the slain civil rightsleader.

Event organizer Polly Byrd said activities are planned from 10a.m. until 9 p.m.

“We want the whole day,” Byrd said.

Activities will include a parade, entertainment throughout theday and awards for residents who clean up their yards. Byrd said aplanning committee will be working other plans and asking forassistance as the day approaches.