By Butch Weir/Special to the Item
The Picayune Item
A portion of West Beers Street, closed more than two months for repairs, is projected to be open for traffic by the end of January.
Sam Hale, city maintenance director, last Thursday said the work to repair the street should be completed in two to three weeks, weather permitting.
The two 44-inch culverts allow the fledgling Jump Off Creek to flow under West Beers on its winding course south where it joins Hobolochito Creek near McNeill. Jump Off begins somewhere just to the north of Pearl River Community College, Hale said.
The erosion probably began soon after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he said, gradually eating away around the culverts and the street now has visible signs of damage. Hurricane Isaac accelerated that process because of the large amount of storm runoff flowing under the bridge. The storm flow was estimated to raise the creek two feet higher than usual, Hale said.
That damage from the hurricane brought the Federal Emergency Management Agency into the picture, Pritchett said. Following its study and review, the city published a request for bids and three companies — HRL Contracting, Inc., in Picayune, Holliday Construction in Poplarville, and RJM Contracting, Inc., in Columbia — responded.
In December, aldermen approved to go ahead with the repair project and HRL Contracting was awarded the contract.
Last week a back hoe began widening and deepening the shallow creek on either side of the street at the culverts in preparation for installation of wing and head walls. The four wings are side berms extending out from the two head walls on either side of the street, which help funnel water flow into the culverts
This week, after pouring the base concrete slab at the base of the culverts and building forms for the wind and head walls, the final concrete pouring would begin, said Tommy Pritchett, assistant engineer with Walker Associates and site representative for the project. Walker Associates is the city’s engineering firm.
While FEMA is paying for a portion of the overall cost, the largest part comes from the city, Hale said.
The base bid for the project was $18,141.05, but an additional $8,015.90 for additional repair to the north side of the small bridge had to be added, Hales said. That cost was not covered by FEMA. He said FEMA only covered about $6,000 of the $26,156.94 of the project.
The unexpected repair to Beers Street joins what appears to be a growing list of other street repairs. Officials say at least two other locations, one on Doyle Street and another in a street through a subdivision off of North Main Street, appear to need immediate attention.