City saving money on overlay

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — The $1.3 million overlay of the four major arteries in Natchez is getting done quickly and money is being saved along the way.

Project Superintendent Ray Hess said when the project was originally assessed, it seemed like all the money would have to be used to overlay Homochitto, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin and St. Catherine street.

But while working, the crews have found things that haven’t necessarily needed to be done, hence saving the city money.

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“For example, on Martin Luther King (Jr. Street,) there are a lot of the manholes that we’re not going to have to adjust at all,” Hess said.

The parts that would be needed to adjust the manholes cost $850 a piece.

And manpower alone would be $7,700, Hess said.

Also on the milling process, he said 1,000 square yards did not have to be done as originally estimated, thereby saving more money.

“The city is going to have some money left in this $1.3 million,” he said.

City Engineer David Gardner is determined to use all of it. Not because it’s required by the state when it gave the city the money to begin with.

Rather, Gardner said that money just belongs to the roads.

“As far as the money, all of it’s going to be put into the roadway,” Gardner said. “We certainly have areas that we can put that money to.

“There’s not a question of how to spend it, it’s where to spend it.”

He said he hasn’t seen exact figures on how much money has been saved, and Hess said he doesn’t have complete figures either. That’s going to determine what can be done with the leftover funds.

Gardner said the extra money could be used to add thickness to roads or the overlay could extend further down any of the four major arteries.

Doing extra work outside of the original project may extend it to the Dec. 5 deadline, Hess said.

But just the overlay of the original project should be done fairly soon.

“I really do believe we’re going to be done before Thanksgiving just like I hoped,” Hess said. “That was a real big goal of mine, and it’s definitely going to be met.”

Hess calculated approximately six days are left in the paving process, then two days of clean up followed by two days of striping.

Homochitto Street is complete, Franklin and St. Catherine streets still have one side of the road, the parking sides, to be paved and Martin Luther King Jr. Street still has one length to be paved.

Gardner said the project will be put on hold for one week.

“They’re going to have to pull off sometime next week. They have another obligation that they have to take care of,” he said.

He said the one-week hiatus will begin toward the middle of next week.

“That’s OK with us,” Gardner said. “It’s not going to be detrimental to the project.”