Saying Little

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Contractors offer few details about delays in repaving

Contractors are saying little about the delays with the city of Jackson’s $4.7 million major street resurfacing contract.

Superior Asphalt, the prime firm handling the work, couldn’t be reached for comment.

And Nancy Black, president of Bulldog Construction, one of the subcontractors on the project, referred questions to Eric Durham, Bulldog’s vice president.

Durham wouldn’t say why the project had been delayed, but instead said his firm was being blamed to get the heat off of everyone else.

“Everybody is pointing the blame where it needs to be to get it off them,” he said. “(There were) no plans on the jobs, no instructions.”

Bulldog was brought on by Superior to handle sidewalk and curb and gutter work. According to a copy of the contract, Bulldog is to receive 2.47 percent of the total contract price.

Jackson city officials, as well as the former one-percent program manager, IMS Engineers, blamed delays in large part on the subcontractor.

IMS told the Sun earlier this year that the schedule of work had to be re-worked because contractors were waiting on Bulldog to finish work on Gallatin Street.

The contract included milling and overlaying portions of seven major city streets.

The first street crews targeted was Gallatin, in south Jackson.

On the Northside, crews were slated to mill and overlay sections of Ridgewood Road and Briarwood Road.

Those projects were supposed to get started in March and April, but were moved to the end of the line because Superior was waiting on Bulldog, IMS officials said.

Work finally got under way on both of those streets in May.

Repaving on Briarwood and Ridgewood was expected to take about a month. However, work on both came to a halt in June, due to weather.

Despite warmer, dryer weather in July, crews only worked one day. Contractors also worked the first week on August, but had not worked since.

It was unclear if the delays were because of rain.

Crews had milled and paved portions of both. However, Superior cannot lay the final coat of asphalt until the sidewalk work is completed by Bulldog.

The initial contract was for $4.5 million, but was increased to $4.7 million when additional work on Gallatin was added.

 

Bulldog is one of several minority-owned firms included on the contract. Superior also subbed out work to Kelly Road Building of Birmingham, Love Trucking and Construction out of Jackson, Lewis Trucking out of Flowood and J.C. Check Contractors of Kosciusko.

Bulldog is a certified female business enterprise (FBE) with the city of Jackson. It was not known if the firm was owned by Nancy Black, who is listed as its president on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Web site.

Jackson’s Equal Business Opportunity Ordinance establishes that minority and female-owned businesses like Bulldog must receive a certain percentage of city contracts.

Among other things, Bulldog does curb and gutter work, site work, demolition and dirt work, according to Jackson’s Web site.

Bulldog was established on November 10, 1992, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Web site state.

The firm is receiving 2.47 percent of the work, or around $116,000, a copy of the contract states.

 

The project has been delayed numerous times since it was awarded.

The contract was approved by the Jackson City Council in August. City officials told the Sun at the time that the work would begin after Labor Day.

However, Superior was not issued a notice to proceed until November, according to Engineering Manager Charles Williams.

Notices to proceed are the official “go-aheads” given to firms working on city contracts. The notices are only issued after the agreements are signed off on by city legal and the mayor.

Even though a notice wasn’t issued until November, a copy of the contract shows that the city signed off of on the agreement on September 19.

Work did not begin until January 20.

The contract included repaving portions of seven streets, including Ridgewood from Old Canton Road to County Line Road; Briarwood from North State Street to I-55 North; Northside Drive from Medgar Evers Boulevard to Sunset Street; Raymond Road from Forest Hill Road to Castle Hill Road; McRaven Road from Maddox Road to the city limits; Greenway Street from U.S. 18 to Robinson Road; and Gallatin from the viaduct to South State Street.

Ridgewood averages around 9,600 vehicles a day near Old Canton, around 18,000 a day near Adkins Boulevard and around 12,000 a day near Ridgewood Court, according to MDOT traffic count maps.