Crews from the city”s Public Works Department are working to bring relief from flooding and drainage problems to Columbus residents.
And travelers along Military Road can expect soon to notice marked improvements on the busy road.
Construction on a Lawrence Drive detention pond — a project initiated by former Ward 2 City Councilman Doug Mackay to alleviate flooding along Maple and Poplar streets and other areas — likely will be completed within 30 days, said Public Works Director Mike Pratt, noting construction on the project, which began in October, is dependent on weather conditions.
“The more it rains, the less time we get to work on it,” he said, adding the pond, which will be re-seeded with grass, was designed by Neel-Schaffer Inc. “It”s to help alleviate some of the water that floods East Columbus.”
Residents have complained about the condition of the area, which is muddy and wet, but Pratt noted repairs will be made to the existing walking track around the pond, which only will temporarily hold water.
“The park will look pretty much the way it did when we started,” he said. “Other than it will have a depression to hold water during a rain event. And then (the water) will let out slowly. It”ll be there permanently; it just won”t be permanently full of water.”
Crews also are working in other areas to relieve drainage problems throughout the city.
“We”re cleaning out ditches, putting them back to their flow lines,” Pratt said. “We”re blowing out culverts and keeping drains open. Columbus does have a drainage problem; we”re working on trying to get the ditches cleaned out to where they will convey the water properly. Our concrete crews are out there working and repairing broken storm drains.
“The only thing I can ask the citizens of this town is to be patient with us,” he added. “There”s no overnight fix, but we are working to help alleviate this water problem we have in Columbus.”
Military Road projects
In addition to city crews, other entities — including Columbus Light and Water and Neel-Schaffer Engineering — are working on several projects to improve Military Road.
Public Works Department crews have been repairing and replacing old, deteriorated drainage pipes and unclogging pipes in the area.
And CLW crews are replacing old or undersized water piping and hydrants, said City Engineer Kevin Stafford, who works for Neel-Schaffer.
“The water line and hydrant upgrades will help increase capacity and pressure to the residents in the area,” Stafford said. “It also improves the quality of service that Columbus Light and Water can provide residents and upgrades fire protection.”
Additionally, a project to fix various sections of sidewalk and curbs, replace dilapidated curb inlets and add ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act is being completed.
“The drainage box replacement portion (of the project) was requested by the city to repair these old boxes, while also improving the function and aesthetics of the existing drainage system,” Stafford said, noting the project was funded by the city and contracted, through public bid, to Crimson Eagle of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “The drainage improvements will get water off the road in a more efficient manner and also allow these improvements to stand up to traffic better than the old (drainage) boxes.”
“The (ramp) and sidewalk improvements will enhance the mobility of pedestrians and cyclists along Military,” he added.
The ramp construction and sidewalk replacement portion of the project was a requirement to proceed with a Mississippi Department of Transportation project, funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money, to mill and overlay Military Road from 18th Avenue to Third Avenue.
The overlay project, which is the final phase of the Military Road improvements, will start in March and will include the paving of several other streets in Columbus, Stafford said, adding the project, which will be done by Falcon Contracting, likely will be completed within three to four months of the March 1 start date.
“It will be heavily dependent on the contractor schedule and weather,” he said, explaining Falcon Contracting will be working on five or more other paving jobs at the same time.
“The pavement overlay will improve the ride along Military,” Stafford added. “The topography is tough along Military, when it comes to tying in the hilly side to the flat side, but all efforts will be made to make the ride as smooth and pleasurable as possible and better than it is now.”