Shopping event delays paving launch

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2005

A downtown paving project that was to start Monday has beendelayed a week to address some merchants’ concerns about anupcoming holiday shopping event, city officials said.

Following a meeting late last week with contractors Dickersonand Bowen, Brookhaven Public Works Director Steve Moreton said the$590,089 project had been delayed. It was to start Monday withstreet preparation, but contractors are now targeting next Monday,weather permitting, Moreton said.

“It’s going to be nice when it’s over,” Moreton said.

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When the original schedule was announced last week, Alderman atlarge Les Bumgarner voiced concerns about street conditions forSaturday’s Christmas Open House, sponsored by the Chamber ofCommerce. The event is designed to encourage downtown shopping forthe holiday season.

Mayor Bob Massengill said his office had received several callsfrom merchants asking if the project could be delayed until afterthe weekend. He was optimistic about the contractor’s schedule oncethe project begins.

“I feel it’s going to get done as quickly as possible and withthe least disruption to downtown traffic as possible,” Massengillsaid.

Cliff Brumfield, the chamber’s executive vice president, saidthe delay was not requested by the chamber.

“We appreciate the accommodation, but we’re also looking forwardto work beginning quickly before the rain season sets in,”Brumfield said.

Brumfield applauded work that has been done so far. For the lastfew weeks, crews have been installing handicap-accessibility rampsat several downtown intersections.

“It’s very attractive and a major improvement to help merchantsprovide better access for customers who need to get to theirbusinesses,” Brumfield said.

Moreton said milling, which involves the removal of oldpavement, is expected to take about three days and paving will bedone in six to eight days. That time frame depends on the weather,ground conditions and whether any base improvements are needed.

To minimize daytime traffic congestion, the paving wasoriginally expected to be done at night. However, due totemperatures, Moreton said last week and again Monday the work willlikely be done in the daytime.

“I just don’t think the night’s going to work out,” he said.

Sections of street scheduled to be paved during the projectinclude:

* Chippewa Street from the South First Street to railroadtracks.

* Jackson Street from Chippewa Street to Monticello Street.

* Cherokee Street from First Street to Brookway Boulevard.

* Railroad Avenue from Monticello Street to ChickasawStreet.

* Whitworth Avenue from Monticello Street to ChickasawStreet.

“If we have any money left, maybe we can go north on JacksonStreet from Monticello,” Moreton said.

That portion of the project was removed when bids came in higherthan anticipated due to higher materials costs and otherfactors.

Massengill said street striping would likely be done in Decemberafter the paving has had a chance to cure.

“All the rest should be done, hopefully, before Thanksgiving,”the mayor said.