Highway gets long awaited culvert

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Residents around Highway 51 South between the intersections ofNatchez Avenue and Highway 84 will have less to worry about when itrains after Tuesday, officials said.

Mississippi Department of Transportation officials said trafficwill be detoured and they will be on scene on Highway 51 throughTuesday in order to put in a new culvert to divert rainwater – aproject city leaders have been pushing for for about 15 years.

Brookhaven Public Works Director Steve Moreton said the waterused to run more slowly in that area when there were fields andlong grass, but now that there are streets and nicely manicuredlawns, the runoff has overloaded the culvert that is already inplace.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Anybody upstream for a few houses will see immediate relief,”he said.

The homes in that area are not in a flood plain, but thedrainage issues have caused problems for a while, Moreton said.

In addition, Mayor Les Bumgarner said the project is one thatinvolves four mayors.

“We’ve got to thank former mayors Doug Sullivan, Bill Godboldand Bob Massengill for their work toward this as well,” he said.”We’ve been working on this for a long time, and it just came to usout of the blue. I wasn’t sure it would ever happen.”

Crews were on scene before 7 a.m. Tuesday, pulling up chunks ofroad with heavy equipment. MDOT project superintendent Nubby Casesaid the work should only take a day.

“That’s the reason we’ve got two of them out there,” he said,indicating the trackhoes at work on the road. “We should be able towind it up in a day.”

Moreton said he’s particularly impressed with MDOT’s willingnessto do whatever is necessary to get the project done.

“They’re putting the pipe in, and they’re going to cut thehighway to do it,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when they toldme. The highway department doesn’t cut their roads, but thefinances of doing this versus boring it, I guess it was moreeconomical for them to cut that road.”

Moreton said he was told by MDOT’s Bennie Holmes that it was thecity’s persistence on the project that finally got things pushedthrough.

“He just told me, ‘Steve you’ve been very persistent,'” Moretonsaid. “We have a good working relationship with MDOT.”

Bumgarner said he anticipates many happy area residents afterthe project is finished.

“For some reason the powers that be smiled on us, and I want tothank Steve for his help on getting this done,” he said. “I guesspatience is a virtue. There are going to be a lot of peopleupstream that will be very happy.”