NEW DEVELOPMENT: I-55 south project soon to be underway again - - Jackson, MS

NEW DEVELOPMENT: I-55 south project soon to be underway again

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - New developments on a story we have been following for months.  Work will soon get underway again on the I-55 south project.

Delays on the project have wrecked budgets and cars. 

The controversial project is being ramped up. According to MDOT Central District Highway Commissioner Dick Hall Friday, the Notice to Proceed is expected to be issued July 1, 2015. James Construction is back on the job.  Winning the $21-million phase 1 contract.  The first deadline July 22  to open the Elton Road northbound off ramp or else.  James Contractors worked on the project before it was shutdown.  They put in a bid that was rejected as over-budget by MDOT.

I asked the Commissioner this. "What's the difference? James had the contract before and now you award it right back to him. "We now know what we are walking into we did not know that before," Hall replied.

An eight mile stretch of Interstate 55 south has been a nightmare for commuters and also going from about McDowell road all the way down to Byram. Why?  Because it is unfinished. it's been going on for months on end. And we are told about three accidents a day. Not only that it has seriously impacted businesses along the frontage road that's because the exits were closed.  They have lost business. Rick's Pro Truck's business fell off 50%. Now he's ready for a change.

Barry Crowe, the  manager said,  "It was frustrating.  Now a new contract is let. That's awesome. Hopefully they can get it done in a timely fashion. A lot of wrecks out here, Lot of traffic back up. Definitely affects all the businesses down here."

   "That situation down there needs to be alleviated as fast as we can get it done . And this is the fastest we can get it done. I asked this question.  "When will it be completed? It will be completed as a Christmas present. the day before Christmas Eve," according to Commissioner Hall.

Hall gave me a list of what is expected under the terms of the MDOT contract with James Contracting.  The contract cost is listed at $21,285,579.00. That is 2.6% over the State Estimate.  The Notice to Proceed is July 1st.  Milestone 1: opening of the northbound off ramp at Elton Road. Completion date: July 22nd.  

Milestone 2 is opening all other northbound ramps.  Deadline September 18th.  The penalty for failure to open the rams by the specified date is $10,000.00 per calendar day per ram until the ram is open to traffic.  The substantial completion of the project which is when northbound traffic will be diverted onto the newly constructed northbound lanes has a completion date of December 23, 2015. 

Failure to meet this date will result in a penalty of $25,000.00 per calendar day until substantial completion is achieved.  

The contractor will be required to maintain traffic and erosion control on the project until April 15, 2016, which is the final completion date.

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