ESI, Cook Coggin on hold

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The public must wait until Monday to learn which engineering firm will win the coveted Major Thoroughfare Program contract for Phase 5.
But Cook Coggin Engineers will get at least one slice of the $22 million pie.
Cook Coggin and Engineering Solutions Inc. are the two remaining firms vying to design several large-scale road improvements throughout the city.
MTP’s engineer-selection subcommittee had planned to pick a firm Thursday, based on the combined results of members’ individual scorecards for each firm. They would then recommend the chosen firm to the full MTP Committee on Monday.
Instead, members put their cards in an envelope to be sealed until shortly before the full committee meeting.
After the full committee votes on the recommendation, it will go to the City Council for a final vote.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Betty Wood attributed the tally’s delay to the absence of two key subcommittee advisers.
When asked what would happen if the firms’ scores came out identical or too close to call, subcommittee member Chuck Imbler Jr. said it wasn’t likely to occur.
“We’ll have to assess that situation if and when we get to that point,” Wood added.
The MTP’s recommendation of ESI five years ago – for Phase 4 – caused a political upheaval when council members rejected the firm and tried to award the contract to Cook Coggin. Eventually, the contract was split between the two.
Regardless of who gets the Phase 5 contract, Cook Coggin still will engineer a part of the upcoming work. That’s because the firm was awarded South Gloster Street’s widening in the previous phase. When that project was postponed to Phase 5, the subcommittee said it was only fair Cook Coggin be allowed to keep it.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com