City and county meet to discuss paving streets

By ANTHONY WARREN,

A recent meeting of local leaders could mean smoother streets on the Northside.

Jackson and Hinds County leaders recently met to hammer out concerns regarding street repaving in the city.

The board of supervisors have approved $700,000 in repaving projects in Jackson, including nearly $200,000 in projects on the Northside.

However, those projects have not gotten off the ground, in part, because the city has not signed off on the plans.

County officials have questioned the holdup, saying they have crews ready to get to work.

City leaders, though, say they’re worried that the county wants to repave roadways that will likely have to be dug up to make water and sewer line repairs.

Additionally, Jackson officials said the county has approved paving streets without receiving input from the city.

Before a county can pave in a city, or vice versa, both entities must sign an interlocal agreement. That agreement then must be approved by the state attorney general.

District One Supervisor Robert Graham believes his recent meeting with Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s administration should address concerns on both sides.

“They said one reason they were slow on (signing the agreements) was because they didn’t want us to pave then have to tear it up to (repair water and sewer) infrastructure,” he said. 

Graham said the county will do a better job of communicating plans with the city in the future.

Attorneys with the county are also working to craft a “blanket interlocal agreement,” which could help speed up the city and county’s approval process.

Graham said the county will still be paving streets previously approved, including portions of four Northside roadways.

Previously, the board approved paving sections of Riverwood Drive ($34,000), Foxboro Drive ($34,000), Westbrook Road ($32,000), Presto Lane ($25,000) and Kaywood Drive ($60,000).

All of those streets are two-lane. None should be affected by underground infrastructure, Graham said.

Most were chosen based on evaluations done by himself and the county’s public works department.

Streets are rated by the county on a scale of zero to 100. Roads with a 100 are in perfect condition, while streets with a score of 50 are in immediate need of repaving.

“There are formulas they used based on the condition of the street: when it was last paved, the number of vehicles that travel it, whether or not there is curb or gutter,” Graham said. “Kaywood is rated around a 10; Westbrook is a 20 and Presto is a 20.” 

Work is being paid for with portions of a $30 million bond issued by the county.

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