By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Transportation is beginning the process of repaving state Highway 9 in Pontotoc in advance of giving the 10-mile roadway over to the county government.
The highway will be ceded to local control because the state will open on Monday a new four-laned Highway 9 in Pontotoc County. Bids were opened on the overlay project of the old Highway 9 just as officials were announcing the new four-laned roadway would open ahead of schedule on Monday.
“Our sole purpose in doing this is so that when we give it over to the county, it will be in good shape,” said MDOT District Engineer Bill Jamieson.
Under state law, Jamieson explained, the Department of Transportation is not supposed to maintain parallel state highways.
The state can and does continue to maintain existing federal highways when a parallel route is opened.
On Wednesday, APAC-Mississippi, a Jackson-based company, was the low bidder on the project at $2.34 million – about $27,000 below estimate and about $10,000 below the second lowest bid by Lehman-Roberts Co. of Memphis.
The bid, since it is below the estimate, is expected to be accepted by the Transportation Commission on Aug. 14. If it is, paving is slated to begin Sept. 13 and is scheduled to be finished by April 13, 2013. After that, ownership of the road will be turned over to Pontotoc County.
After the improvements, Jamieson said the road should be in good shape for about 20 years since truck traffic and most other vehicle traffic will start using the new four-lane.
The route that is supposed to be paved runs from just north of state Highway 6 north to Eads Creek Road.
The new roadway was built to provide easy access for suppliers to the Toyota Manufacturing plant at Blue Springs.