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City approves bid to move forward with utility relocation for Highway 11 project

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune City Council, the council approved a request from Brooks Wallace (Dungan Engineering/City Engineer’s office) to accept the lowest bid for the purpose of relocating utilities as part of the first steps to prepare for Phase I of the widening of Highway 11. The project was awarded to T.L. Wallace Construction, Inc. based on their bid of $2,139,506.00. Phase I will begin at Cayten Street and end at the entrance to Hideaway Lake (Lakeshore Drive).

Wallace responded to a question from Councilman Wayne Gouguet asking on how the city will get reimbursed for the work explaining that the city will pay the contractor and submit those invoices to MDOT for reimbursement for each of the different utilities. Wallace stated there is different reimbursement percentage for each type of utility. For example, previous percentages noted for reimbursement have been stated as approximately 10 percent for natural gas, 40 percent on water; and 30 percent on sewer.

Council members Tammy Valente and Larry Breland

According to a schedule that Public Works Director Eric Morris received on Tuesday from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the estimated completion for Phase I is March of 2021, but Morris and Wallace both noted, that is simply a computer-generated estimate from MDOT, without taking into account all of the variables of this project. Wallace said the relocation of the utilities for Phase I should be completed by the end of this calendar year (December 2018), with actual road work programmed to begin in Spring 2019.

Wallace told the council that the city had received a letter from MDOT that the project will move forward. The council asked for something in writing at their previous meeting to protect the city’s investment in funding to relocate utilities in case of a possible delay of the project by MDOT.

Wallace said a large part of city’s cost for this project (one third) is requirements from MDOT on how the side streets tie will tie into the new highway. Wallace is hoping that MDOT will lighten up their requirements which could save the city a substantial amount of money.

Phase II of the project will include another utility relocation for the project to run from Cayten Street to 4th Street (near the location of Pit Lane Oil Change) which will include a new bridge over Boley Creek (Hobolochitto).

Wallace said that it is his understanding that MDOT is working on obtaining right of ways. Morris said the schedule from MDOT estimates a start date in March 2020 with an estimated completion in September 2022.


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