Petal OKs work for S. Main, Smithville


The $750,000 Petal received as part of the BP Settlement Bill will soon be put to use on the repaving and repair of South Main Street and Smithville Road, as the Petal Board of Aldermen voted last week to accept Dunn Roadbuilders to contract for work on the project.

“So we’ll be signing the contract, and they’ll be authorized to get started as soon as they can,” Mayor Hal Marx said. “Usually, it takes them about two or three weeks to gather up all their equipment and mobilize for a project, so it’ll probably be the end of this month or the first week of August before they actually get started.”

The work on South Main follows the repaving of North Main about three years ago. The project will pave South Main from its intersection at Central Avenue and stop just short of the East Hardy Street bridge.

“We won’t be going all the way to bridge at this point, because they’re about to start work on replacing that bridge, and as part of that project, they’ll be also realigning South Main Street and paving part of that street,” Marx said in a previous story. “So for our part of it, we’ll probably pave down to close to where it intersects with Carterville Road and then come back toward the bridge, because we don’t know for sure how far they’re going to go with (the bridge replacement).”

Marx said work on Smithville Road, which connects Corinth and Davis roads, had been put off for a while because it was previously not considered a high-traffic area. Improvements have been necessitated, however, with the recent addition of several homes and an upcoming subdivision.

“We anticipate a lot more traffic there, so Representative (Larry) Byrd got money for that road also,” Marx said. “Those two roads (Main and Smithville) will be paid for out of the BP money.”

The roads will remain open to traffic during the repaving process.

The BP Settlement Bill – formally known as Senate Bill 2002 – was passed last year by Byrd and other representatives in a special session of the Mississippi Legislature, with more than $750 million distributed statewide for repairs, improvement and infrastructure.

Of those funds, Lamar County received $3 million and Forrest County $1.25 million. The monies are a result of Mississippi’s lawsuit against BP for the oil spill, in which 210 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Because the BP money is earmarked specifically for the Main Street and Smithville Road projects, any money left over from that venture would need to be used in relation with those roads.

“So if there’s any of that money left, we’ll probably do some sidewalk repair along Main Street,” Marx said. “We have some sidewalks that have some issues that have made it hard for people in wheelchairs, or people who are handicapped, to access the sidewalks. So because that is along Main Street, it would still qualify for that BP money.”

In addition to the Main Street and Smithville Road projects, Petal officials will also use approximately $200,000 in local funds for road improvements on three streets in the Hunter’s Ridge subdivision off Sunrise Road: Mallard Drive, Dove Hollow and Nicklaus Trail.

“Those three streets are in very bad need of repair – the road bed itself is crumbling, and it needs to be reconstructed,” Marx said. “So we’re going to do those streets, and that way that whole subdivision will be in good shape, because about three years ago we did West Temple Road, so this will complete that whole subdivision area.”