Funds approved for Riverside design workBy ANTHONY WARREN,
Construction on Riverside Drive could still get under way some time in 2018, pending the completion of the project’s design.
Last week, Jackson’s one-percent oversight commission approved allocating an additional $500,000 for the Riverside design work.
The city plans to amend the contract to allow engineers to not only design the project’s first phase, but also a major water line installation along the entire roadway.
The amendment now must be taken to the city council for approval.
Meanwhile, engineers are waiting for the city’s go-ahead before designing a project for the roadway.
In August, Waggoner Engineering submitted its “alternate evaluation report” for city review.
City officials must review that report and then authorize engineers to move forward with designing an alternative.
The report included data on all proposals for the roadway, including information on which proposal is preferred by residents.
Data was collected from a public hearing held earlier this year, where residents had the opportunity to review five options to rebuild the roadway between the I-55 North flyover bridge to Peachtree Street.
The most popular option includes reducing the roadway to two lanes, one on each side of the median, adding a sidewalk on the south side and a multi-use trail on the north side.
Under the plan, the majority of Riverside’s iconic trees would not be touched.
The design phase will take an estimated six to seven months, once the city gives the go-ahead.
While engineers are awaiting permission to design the first phase, the second phase of the Riverside project has been scaled back.
The original project called for rebuilding the roadway between Peachtree Street and North State Street.
However, city officials are now planning to instead, replace a major water main under the street, overlaying it, and reconstructing existing sidewalks to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
The project also would include some modifications to tie the section into the first phase at Peachtree.
The first phase is expected to cost around $8.8 million, according to early estimates.
The project is being paid for with the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax. It was included among several Northside streets as part of the city’s first-year infrastructure master plan.
The tax generates around $14 million a year, and can be used solely for infrastructure improvement projects, such as road reconstruction and water main replacements.
The water main along Riverside needs to be replaced, in part, because of its advanced age and deteriorating condition, according to city officials.
The water main serves a large swath of the Belhaven community.
In July, a major break occurred along the roadway between St. Ann and St. Mary (streets) in front of the Salvation Army and Army National Guard buildings.
Riverside averages around 6,100 vehicles a day, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) traffic count maps.