Cowan Road Project Hits Another Snag - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/10/03

Cowan Road Project Hits Another Snag

The final section of the Cowan Road widening project started in August 2001. It was supposed to be done this July. Now drivers must wait an unknown period of time to escape the Cowan Road construction cones.

Drivers often sit on gravel for what seems like an eternity, waiting for an opening to turn onto the old, two lane section of Cowan Road. Business owners like Jim Harrell said they've been waiting just as long for traffic to move onto Cowan's newly built lanes. "It's time the road is fixed, whoever needs to fix the road," Harrell said.

The question is, who's going to take down the road closed signs and finish the final phase of the Cowan Road widening project. Fore Construction had the contract. But company president Pat Fore said that on Friday, he turned in a termination notice. Fore claimed the state breached its contract, because MDOT didn't pay the contractor for work the state required that wasn't part of the original agreement.

In a phone conversation from Reno, Nevada, transportation commissioner Wayne Brown admitted that Fore is owed some money, "but not enough to be significant." He said the company will be paid. Brown also said the state's next step is to bring in a new contractor to get this job built.

MDOT officials in Jackson said the same thing. "It's unfortunate that the residents of the coast are the one's that will lose from the loss of time," MDOT spokesperson Donna Lum said.

For now, orange barrels sit on the partially completed roadway. But because of Fore's decision, there aren't any construction crews working. And there still isn't any traffic on the section that's being widened.

That's what Jim Harrell wants changed immediately. "I, like the other businesses, would like to see the road completely so traffic can be moved over," Harrell said. "It's time for it."

Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown said it would take the state at least 20 days to find a company who can finish the Cowan Road work.

by Brad Kessie

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