Downtown paving work to begin soon

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Mayor Bob Massengill said downtown paving work is expected tobegin soon after aldermen on Tuesday issued a notice toproceed.

“We all know this has been a long time coming,” the mayor saidafter the board dealt with the matter along with some routineagenda items.

In May, aldermen accepted a $590,089 bid from Dickerson andBowen. The contract had to be approved by the MississippiDepartment of Transportation because it was more than 10 percentover the engineer’s estimate due to some uncertainty about basestreet repairs, earth work and other project aspects.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The board Tuesday night formally awarded the contract and issueda notice to proceed.

Sidewalk work for handicap assessability is expected to be doneduring the day. Massengill said paving will done at night, althoughhe said there could still be some traffic-related congestion.

“They’re going to try to keep disruption of downtown traffic toa minimum,” Massengill said.

In other transportation matters, Massengill updated aldermen onhis recent meeting with MDOT officials regarding several concernsin Brookhaven.

One topic discussed last night was the 45 miles per hour speedlimit on Highway 550 coming into Brookhaven. Officials voicedconcerns about speeding and accidents in that area.

After traveling the road, new Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwelland Massengill agreed that 45 mph would be OK from BrookhavenStreet to the city limits at the Interstate 55 overpass. However,Maxwell mentioned older residents entering the highway at BrookmanDrive and Massengill cited a “significant number of accidents” atthe intersection of Highways 550 and 51.

“That probably should be slower there if we can ask them to dothat,” Maxwell said.

Aldermen voted to request MDOT lower the speed limit to 30 mphbeginning around East Meadowbrook Drive.

Also, aldermen agreed to get an estimate on the cost ofinstalling a traffic signal at the entrance to King’s DaughtersMedical Center on Highway 51.

MDOT indicated the traffic count there is borderline for asignal but the city could put one up at city expense, Massengillsaid. The mayor speculated the signal cost could be$75,000-$100,000.

Massengill also mentioned the possibility of wheelchair lanes onHighways 550 and 51 and on Brookway Boulevard.

“We’re looking into that,” Massengill said.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first one of a new term in office forcity leaders. Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates was named mayor pro temfor the next four years, and City Attorney Joe Fernald wasreappointed for the following year.

Over the next few weeks, Massengill asked aldermen to developtwo lists of items they would like to see happen during the nextfour years. One list for aldermen to prepare involves overall citygoals, and the other would have to do with individual wardgoals.

“We’ve all got plans, we’ve all got ideas and we’ve all gotthings we’d like to see accomplished,” the mayor said.

Once the lists are developed, Massengill said priorities couldbe identified with he and the board working together to accomplishthem. He asked for the lists to be ready by the Aug. 2 meeting.

Finally Tuesday, following an executive session for personneland pending litigation, aldermen voted to hire Walter Temple as thecity’s new building inspector.

Temple will replace Steve Moreton, who was recently nameddirector of public works for the city. Ward Four Alderwoman ShirleyEstes, who made the motion to hire Temple, said he has 19 yearsexperience and will be paid $36,000 a year.

There was no report on the litigation issue.