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WM Public Works gets update on Southland Drive extension, Hino Road bridge

Projects underway to improve traffic flow

news@theeveningtimes.com

One new road and one old bridge were the focus of the update West Memphis City Engineer Phillip Sorrell presented to the Public Works Commission at the board’s. May 3 meeting.

The Hino Road bridge is worn out, said Sorrell, and elected officials continue to field complaints from trucker constituents over the speed humps on either side of the bridge. The obstacles are designed to reduce the truck speed and lower the dynamic load as the bridge visible wavers under load. Sorrell described the rehab project and covered the funding breakdown. The West Memphis and Marion city limits rundown the middle of the road so the two cities will share the local cost of the project.

“It belongs half to Marion and half to West Memphis,” explained Sorrell.

“We will use some of our transportation improvement project money for this.

What we didn’t use on the Southland Drive project we’ll use on the Hino Bridge for the 20 percent match. Marion will cover 10 percent and we will cover 10 percent.”

Federal funds will be $464,000, plus engineering costs outside of the project. Continued Sorrell, “The cost will be $93,000 per city.”

The City Engineer said engineering costs were still being negotiated.

Funds for the project will come out of a line item already allotted in the 2016 Street Department budget.

Frustrated truckers were on the mind of Chairwoman Ramona Taylor.

“Could it be done sooner?” asked Taylor. “I have drivers calling and complaining to me about it.”

“We need to have the project ready for bid by September to have the Federal funds allocated,” said Sorrell. “We wouldn’t start construction until 2017.”

From the bridge on the west side Sorrell shifted the focus to the new northern connector on the east side of the city. Clearing the new Southland Drive was accomplished in April. The roadway is clearly visible and runs down the utility line, between Ingram Boulevard north of Southland, to the curve in the North 7th Street extension.

The road will originally be one lane each way.

“Work started April 4,” said Sorrell. “They made significant progress the first couple of weeks before the rain slowed us down a little. We have processed pay application one and two.

The two pay outs total $210,000. We’ll start back in earnest as soon as things dry up out there.”

“What is the completion time,” asked Taylor.

“Late October or early November, and I am hopeful that it may be sooner,” said

Sorrell.

By John Rech

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