A Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) official said Friday that MDOT will repair the longstanding pavement problem at the intersection of Broadway and Custer Street. The site of the problem is on US149, which is a state highway.
Corry Harms, the District 2 maintenance engineer at Yazoo City's MDOT office, said the repair will likely take place in July if the weather cooperates.
“We're not going to do anything until a little dryer weather,” Harms said. “We don't know where the water is coming from.”
For years, Yazoo City officials have expressed safety concerns about the state of what amounts to be a pothole at the intersection of Broadway and Custer Street. While some have thought the water coming from the pothole was coming from infrastructure maintained by Yazoo City's Public Service Commission (YCPSC), tests have indicated that the source likely is ground water. The municipally-owned utility installed a metal plate over the pothole for safety purposes, and recently removed the plate after being unable to secure it. YCPSC then filled the hole with cement and asphalt as something of a temporary fix.
“We checked out our storm drains and they're in good condition, so it's not like it's leaking from our storm drains,” Harms said. “We don't know if it's a springhead. Sometimes, at the bottom of hills you have over the winter water come down and collect and it just picked that particular spot to come out.”
He said MDOT officials thought the problem had gone away last summer after there appeared to be no water coming from the pothole.
“It had pretty well quit leaking last summer,” he said. “We kind of thought maybe the problem had gone away as far as the water.”
Harms said MDOT will “dig down and do a full pavement repair there. That's about all we know to do right now. If we can, we're going to try to put in some sort of french drain or something for the water if we have a storm sewer close enough so we can tie into or something that's downhill from it. Honestly, we don't know where the problem is from.”
YCPSC officials have expressed concerns that the leak may compromise the state road's integrity at that point, which have provoked questions of liability should a portion of the pavement cave-in.
After MDOT's investigation of the area, Harms said there are no “big voids under the pavement. The road's not about to fall in.”
He said he doesn't anticipate any traffic problems during the repair phase. While YCPSC personnel anticipated a major traffic nightmare by rerouting the traffic on Madison Street or Jefferson Street during the repair, Harms said MDOT would simply flag traffic around the repair site. Harms speculated that the repair site would involve MDOT's digging up a six-foot by six-foot hole, which will cover about half a lane of traffic.
In a recent Board of Commissioners meeting of the YCPSC, the commissioners approved sending a letter to MDOT, advising them that the metal plate had been removed after being unable secure it to the site. YCPSC Engineer Wayne Morrison has said the only reason the city-owned utility put the metal plate on the site several years ago was because they first thought the water leak was due to a YCPSC infrastructure problem.