April 24, 2008

Business 136 Project Hits Bump in the Road

A bumpy road lies ahead for the cooperative efforts between the City of Memphis and the Missouri Department of Transportation to resurface Business Highway 136.

Initial efforts to resurface the portion of Market Street from the city square south to Highway 136 did not meet with high public approval ratings when the first step of the project was completed last week and opened for traffic.

The bumpy ride on that roughly six city-block stretch of road left many city residents complaining about the project.

The public outcry was answered this week, when the construction plans were switched to use the asphalt lay-down machine owned by the city instead of a smaller unit being provided by the private job contractor. This process contracted by MoDOT had been used on Market Street.

City crews worked with local MoDOT representatives to complete the resurfacing of the remaining portion of the business highway on Monroe Street from the square to Highway 15.

MoDOT area engineer Jennifer Hinson, who is overseeing the project, noted that the city’s machine will also be used to add material on Market Street from the old rail road bridge to the city square. This process will include roughly one inch of new material in the center, with that new mat gradually tapering down toward each road edge to restore the road crown.

“With all of the city’s water valve boxes and man holes in the middle of the road, this surface will never be perfect,” Hinson said. “But this should help smooth out some of the concerns.”

The project had been touted as a joint effort between the state and the city. The issues with the private contractor simply increased the city’s portion of the input.

“We weren’t involved with the Market Street project initially,” stated Street Superintendent Roy Monroe. “So this revised plan is actually allowing the City to take a more active roll in the project and fulfill our portion of the joint-project.”

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