Weather stalls roadwork

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Contractors were expected to be back on the job this week, to continue repaving work on Briarwood Drive and Ridgewood Road.

Work got off to a fast start in late May, with crews milling and overlaying portions of streets with the initial base coat of asphalt.

However in mid-June, work came to a halt in part due to two weeks of wet weather.

The streets are part of Jackson’s $4.7 million major road repaving project.

The project is being funded with the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax. It includes milling and overlaying seven major city streets and bringing sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Superior Asphalt was awarded the bid in 2016, but construction didn’t get under way until January of this year.

Work on Briarwood and Ridgewood was expected to be finished within three weeks of starting, had the weather cooperated.

However, two weeks of wet weather and a national holiday brought work to a complete standstill.

The area experienced several consecutive days of rain during the weeks ending June 24 and July 1, and construction did not restart the week of July 4, despite the hot, dry weather.

As a result, portions of Ridgewood and Briarwood remained incomplete.  Briarwood’s center turn lanes had not been paved, and in front of the Chili’s restaurant, motorists had to slow down to avoid jolting their vehicles when they drive over the area where the milling ends. Ridgewood’s center lanes also had not been paved in some areas.

Milling includes removing a street’s old, damaged asphalt, so base repairs can be made and new asphalt can be poured.

Asphalt cannot be poured in the rain, and asphalt companies typically do not produce asphalt when the weather turns wet, city officials explained.

The project includes repaving Briarwood from the I-55 North frontage road to North State Street, and Ridgewood from Old Canton Road to East County Line Road.

Both streets are two of the busiest on the Northside. 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 Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) traffic count maps. Briarwood averages around 9,200, the maps show.

Other streets included in the contract were Northside Drive, Raymond Road, McRaven Road, Greenway Drive and Gallatin Road. Once crews finish up on Briarwood and Ridgewood, they must add a surface coat to Gallatin. 

It was unknown at press time when the project would wrap up. Construction will be done under traffic.