Natchez road work begins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

NATCHEZ — Federal dollars were literally at work Tuesday at the corner of Washington and Rankin streets, where construction crews began preliminary work for handicapped-accessible ramps, sidewalks and curbs.

The project is part of the overlay of the downtown central business district, which includes portions of Rankin, Commerce, Pearl, Washington, State and Canal streets, and a portion of Melrose-Montebello Parkway near the Roselawn subdivision. The downtown overlay is a $575,000 project financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Work was set to begin Monday, but rainy weather delayed the project by one day, City Engineer David Gardner said Tuesday. The downtown overlay is slated for completion April 14.

During Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting last week, Gardner said he made a request to the Federal Highway Administration, asking officials to consider laying down a warm mix asphalt overlay as opposed to a hot mix asphalt overlay. Warm mix asphalt overlays are laid down in cooler temperatures, and Gardner cited Natchez’s unusually cool temperatures in his request.

Gardner said Tuesday the FHA denied his request due to strict federal time constraints.

Work also began Tuesday on the Union Street overlay from Orleans Street to George F. West Boulevard. Like the downtown overlay, the project was delayed by one day due to rain.

The Union Street overlay is a $602,000 project financed by the city’s federal urban aid fund.

Gardner said both projects require handicapped-accessible ramps, sidewalks and curbs in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

The Union Street overlay is slated for completion in August.

The bids for both projects were awarded to the construction company W.E. Blain & Sons.