Transport center nears completion

Published 6:01 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

It’s just a matter of time, but then it’s been a matter of timefor almost a decade now.

Brookhaven’s Multi-Modal Facility could be just weeks away fromcompletion, barring any further surprises, said Brookhaven PublicWorks Director Steve Moreton.

“Well, they’ve poured the curbs and the sidewalks, and they’rethrough with the detention ponds,” he said. “All they lack now issome asphalt for the road, which will come out by the OutreachMinistries.”

That and a fence will mark the completion of “Phase Two,”Moreton said, indicating that he hopes there will not be a “PhaseThree” of Multi-Modal construction. He said while there had beensome dispute about the length of the boarding dock, he hopes thatwon’t drive the third phase of construction into being.

There had been a miscommunication between AMTRAK and theMississippi Department of Transportation on how long the boardingdock had to be. Initial plans showed it at 80 feet, and bothentities approved the plans, but then came back and said it neededto be 400 feet.

Once the city contested that, the debate has been silent.

“Hopefully since they’ve approved the plans they’ll back off ofthat,” he said. “I don’t know what the status of the platform is,but I know it’s better than the 2-by-2 stool they get off onnow.”

Mayor Les Bumgarner said recently that if there is any furtherissue with the boarding dock, that should be a problem that AMTRAKand MDOT handle between themselves.

The next step, Moreton said, is the smokestack. Some cranes willbe brought in as soon as Phase Two is complete, and some cellulartowers will be added to the top of the historic smokestack.

“Cellular South has some towers on the smokestack, and AT&Thas signed an agreement with the city to put some up there too,”Moreton said. “They’ll have to put in some pads, some concreteslabs to get those up there. We’ve got to get through with thatbefore we have people coming in and out of there.”

The parking lot was also recently widened for the possibility ofbuses to come into the transportation hub. At this point there areno bus contracts in the works, officials said, but there are somebus lines available that could make runs to the Multi-ModalFacility.

From size, funding, use and dock heights, the facility projecthas been plagued by a variety of questions and setbacks since itsinception. But city officials soldiered through those and thehurdles were cleared.

Facility construction started July 15, 2009. Now, more than ayear later, officials said they hope they’ll get to cut the ribbonvery, very soon.

“We’re hoping this is going to be it. I don’t have a time,”Moreton said. “I know Greenbriar has this contract and hopefullythey’ll be done with their part by the end of this month. But Idon’t know about a grand opening time.”