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City begins $502K BP-funded paving project

Crews began this week repaving part of Union Street Extension and Industrial Park Road, an improvement project the city is funding with a half-million dollars from BP’s oil spill settlement.

The project began near Rebel Testers on Union Street Extension where the four-lane, state-aid highway narrows to the two-lane, city-owned road. Crews will turn at Industrial Park Road, head up to Hwy. 51 and cross over, then continue up to the intersection of North Jackson Street, said engineer Ryan Holmes, principal with Dungan Engineering who designed the plans for the improvement project.

He expects the project, which covers 1.235 miles, to last about three to four weeks, depending on weather.

Motorists can expect delays until the completion of the project, he said.

Dickerson & Bowen of Brookhaven — the company’s office is actually on Industrial Park Road — won the project with a bid of $502,652, Holmes said.

The city and county received $500,000 each after state lawmakers in last August handed out $111 million in funding across the state, with $61 million coming from the state’s BP oil spill settlement and $50 million borrowed.

Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox and District 39 Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, addressed the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors in December, asking the board to consider putting its half-million-dollar check toward the repaving of Industrial Park Road Northeast, the last section of highway between I-55 and the Brookhaven Industrial Park not yet reconditioned after years of abuse by heavy trucks.

Doty estimated the final stage of the project could cost around $1 million.

Supervisors, who already had their own paving projects earmarked for their funds, said no.

“They are using the money for various roads around the county,” said Holmes, who is also the county engineer.

The project to enhance the industrial park’s connection to the interstate has been going for over two years. Supervisors began helping the city resurface Manufacturer’s Boulevard and Industrial Park Road Northeast — parts of both are county-owned and maintained under the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction — in 2016 with a $1.25 million federal grant.

The boulevard in the park has been resurfaced, and so has the section of Industrial Park Road Northeast from the park west to the intersection with North Jackson Street. But from North Jackson Street to I-55 has remained untouched and in need of repairs to continue supporting the heavy trucks to and from Walmart Distribution, McLane Co. and other businesses in the industrial park.