Construction on Drew’s Park Avenue is still not completed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
On Monday, Sunflower County Engineer Ron Cassada told the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors that he should have a possible completion date by the end of the week, after a meeting with the contractor.
The road construction on Main Street, which began several months ago, has taken a lot longer than expected, due to unforeseen issues, and the delay has reportedly impinged upon the success of local merchants to the point that some are considering closing up shop.
In a recent E-T news article, town merchants expressed their concern over losing nearly 50 percent of their business revenue because a whole section of their normal customer base was being hampered by the construction.
Some citizens also grumbled about having to take alternate routes to the post office and the inconvenience of having to travel to Ruleville to shop. District 5 Supervisor Gloria Dickerson said on Monday, “It’s been hard on them.”
Cassada said a signed supplemental agreement from MDOT State-Aid that the contractor had been waiting for in order to proceed with the work arrived on Tuesday afternoon and the contractor attempted to begin on Thursday.
However, local residents blocked the roadway with their vehicles and would not permit them access, protesting that the construction work was shutting businesses down. Cassada said, “The contractor called me and was like, ‘They won’t let me get on the site and I can do this work with it muddy.’
Cassada said the police had to be called in. “It was a mess,” he said. According to him, the construction crew still has to “trench” and pour concrete for the curbs, gutters and concrete driveways after the gravel has been laid, plus the striping has to be completed. Cassada said, “It’s a lot of phases it has to go through. It’s a messy project, it’s in the middle of the town.”
Cassada said he would have a more definitive completion date by the Supervisors’ next session.