Bike path progress questioned

By Errol Castens

OXFORD – City officials are wondering why construction on South Lamar Boulevard is taking longer than expected and why crews give little heed to the needs of residents and business owners along the route.
D. Carroll Construction was contracted to complete bike lanes on South Lamar and several other streets. South Lamar was expected to be finished months ago, but spokesman Shane Alford said Monday that paving would take at least two more weeks of good weather.
Lloyd Oliphant, whose wife, Donna, owns Skate Place and Swim Place on South Lamar, said crews blocked her drive on the first day of swim season, took up the mailbox without notice, then put back a replacement box pointed in a wrong direction.
Kevin McLeod of Elliott amp& Britt Engineering, who is overseeing the project, said rains have repeatedly set back the work but that paving should start soon.
“They’re supposed to put some asphalt down before the end of this week,” he said.
“I’m hearing that every week,” said Alderman Janice Antonow, adding that some residents along South Lamar have had erosion fence in their yards for months, while others cannot access their driveways.
D. Carroll Construction has until Jan. 13, 2013, to finish the project, which also includes portions of North Lamar, Old Taylor Road and College Hill Road/Old Sardis Road.
City Engineer Bart Robinson said that monetary penalties will kick in after that deadline.
“Until that Jan. 13 date, there’s not a lot we can do to hurry them up,” he said.
Oliphant, a former Lafayette County supervisor, warned that any more delays could put the work off until next spring.
“Asphalt plants typically close up on the fall, and we’re a long way from having that project completed,” he said.
errol.castens@journalinc.com