GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The City of Gulfport is getting serious about getting Courthouse Road fixed right.
In a specially called meeting on Thursday, the council approved a change directive that lifts the temporary suspension of work and gives contractor Jay Bearden Construction guidelines on how to fix the problems.
It’s so close, yet so far away. The road has been nearly finished for weeks, but it is full of dips - 18 of them.
City engineer Kris Riemann is not happy.
“The entire roadway cost $6 million to build,” he said. “And I thought that having these dips was not the type of road the public to see when we finished it.”
So, a temporary suspension of work was ordered, and the city decided to withhold payment of $200,000 from the first failed overlay.
In addition, the city is fining Jay Bearden $160,000 in damages for going over contract deadlines.
“It’s been frustrating. Absolutely,” Riemann said. “This is my 23rd year with the city and it’s the first project that’s really given me a lot of trouble like this.”
The change directive by the city council is requiring Jay Bearden Construction to fix the dips and then put another layer of asphalt all the way from Pass Road to the beach.
The work will cost more than $230,000, but the good news is that the extra money is already in the budget.
“We had go back to MDOT, we had to get approvals and we had to find a way to allow for MDOT to pay for that extra remediation that we wanted,” said council president Rusty Walker. “Because at the end of the day, that road is going to be there for a long time, and we did not want to start off from day one with a quilt of patchwork.”
City officials said they were going to present the resolution to Jay Bearden Thursday evening but were unsure if the company would agree to the work.
If not, Riemann said the issue could end up in court.
Long-time Courthouse Road retailer Ferrell Alman said he’s been frustrated as well, but he added that he’s happy the worst of the construction is finished.
“We’re just grateful that all the potholes are gone, all the dust is gone," Alman said. "People complaining about their cars getting dirty and getting beat up from all the pot holes, that’s gone, but now they found that it’s not 100% perfect. And so, they’re coming back to get it done 100 percent perfect. So, we will be even bigger and better and open for business on Courthouse Road.”