North Natchez drainage project under way

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 23, 2010

NATCHEZ — For approximately nine months, people who live and work on the north side of town will live and work in a construction zone.

Preliminary work has begun on Phase 2A of the North Natchez Drainage Project, which affects Monroe, Canal Madison, North Wall and West Oak streets, and Oak Court.

DirtWorks, Inc., of Vicksburg mailed letters to business owners and residents last week alerting them of the pending construction, City Engineer David Gardner said Thursday.

Utility company crews are working this week to raise aerial lines to make way for the installation of new culverts underneath the roadways. State law requires aerial lines to be at least 13 to 14 feet above ground. The city has requested an 18-foot clearance to load and unload heavy materials needed to install the culverts.

Gardner said when the culverts are installed underground, roads will be closed and traffic will be rerouted.

Businesses and residences have experienced some inconveniences this week. Phones were temporarily disconnected, water was temporarily shut down and street lights have been removed, but Gardner said construction is hardly without inconveniences.

“We’ve asked (DirtWorks) to keep everybody posted when an inconvenience occurs because there will be an inconvenience no doubt,” Gardner said. “When you keep the public informed when you’re going to do things and how it’s going to impact them, they’re a lot more patient.

“We know there will be a lot of mud when it rains and we know there will be a lot of construction noise from the diesel engines,” Gardner said. “We may hit a sewer line or water line, but Natchez Water Works is on standby to help in case that happens.

“Even though it’s inconvenient, it’s progress,” Gardner said. “We’re making a difference with drainage in those areas. Once the culverts are in, they will drain the water off much quicker, which is safer in the long run.”

Gardner said the project, which began last week, is slated for completion in 210 days. The project’s total cost is $2,550,024.69.