Poplarville suffers infrastructure problems, lack of funds for repairs

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen voted to put off the approval of a drainage repair project Tuesday night due to an unexpected cost.

Erosion problems on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard were reported to the Board earlier this month.

Tuesday, the lowest bid to make repairs came in at just over $37,000, almost double the engineer’s estimate for the project.

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Those repairs would also only be a temporary fix, lasting five to 10 years, according to the engineer, and require a much more costly and permanent fix later down the road.

With the area experiencing heavy rainfall this week, the damage to the drainage feature could worsen.

“What’s most frustrating, extremely frustrating, is we’ve stumbled into this catch 22 where the integrity of our roadway is exposed to floodwaters, much of which we should be experiencing here soon.

So we have to do something,” project engineer Jason Lamb said.

The Board was hesitant to take action, and pushed the matter to a special meeting next Tuesday.

“This is just one structure like this, and I know of at least two more in town that are going to be higher [in cost],” Alderwoman Shirley Wiltshire said.

At the same time, repairs to a storm drain on Julia and Beers streets were completed earlier this month.

Those repairs cost the city about $8,000, which was said to be lower than expected.

Repairs to the failing culvert on South Haynes Street could cost between $40,000 to $80,000, previous coverage states.

Last year, a sinkhole formed under the railroad overpass on South Main Street, which took months and a $175,000 grant to complete, previous coverage states.

The Board has discussed the problem for the past few months, approving small ticket projects like the storm drain repair, and delaying decisions on the larger projects until the new administration takes office.

The city’s infrastructure was a hot topic during the city election this year.

Mayor-elect Rossie Creel said during a debate at the Dixon Theater that non-essential spending needs to be cut in order to make more room for infrastructure development.

Current Alderman and then mayoral candidate Glenn Bolin also discussed severe damage on Jacobs and South Pine streets, both of which haven’t been presented to the Board in recent months.

Last year, the Board set a budget of $346,744 for maintenance of city streets, according to previous coverage.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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