Road work nears completition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — Road overlay on several downtown streets has stalled but is nearly complete.

Homochitto, Franklin, St. Catherine and Martin Luther King Jr. streets have all gotten a fresh layer of asphalt and are now awaiting striping.

But before that can happen, City Engineer David Gardner said new manhole rings and lids need to be delivered.

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“The reason we haven’t started back is because we’ve ordered some new manhole rings and lids because when we raised the manholes on about 10 locations on those streets, they’re just so worn out and so old that the lids won’t stay in the rings,” he said.

Instead of starting to stripe and then halting the process to replace the manholes, Gardner said they would just hold off on the project.

Also, the striping crew that’s been contracted is based in Jackson, and Gardner said the project would be completed much more smoothly if the crew striped all four streets at once.

“So rather than start up and stop again, we’re waiting for all that material to get in,” he said.

Additionally, the asphalt has been given a chance to cure. Gardner said when new asphalt is laid, an oily film remains on top, which makes it hard for the striping to adhere to the surface.

“You have to have time for that to go away so you’ll have a good surface for the paint material to bond to,” he said.

The normal waiting period is 14 days.

Gardner said in the process of the project some money was saved, and because of that, Junkin Street will be resurfaced. Junkin connects D’Evereux Drive and St. Catherine Street.

“We’re going to do that because that thing is in really bad need of repair,” he said.

After that, he said Jefferson Street will get new asphalt as well.

“We’ll head up on Jefferson Street until we run out of money,” he said.

The hope is that Jefferson can be resurfaced all the way to Canal Street, Gardner said.

Both of those streets are able to be resurfaced with the state funds because the money was allocated for gaming streets, and both Junkin and Jefferson streets connect gaming streets, he said.

The project should resume next week.

“It all hinges on when the material is delivered,” Gardner said.