Jasper Mayor David O'Mary gave an update on roadwork in the city Friday, as drivers were surprised to see increase work on Viking Drive that will also lead to a red light at the Jones Daily Road intersection.
Crews backed up traffic some on Viking and put on a tar-and-gravel treatment on part of the road, while work has also started on Airport Road. The mayor also said the city is making the final plans to release a list of roads to be paved with its recent borrowing.
O'Mary said the work being seen Friday involves Phase 2 of the work on Viking, which has seen turning lanes and sidewalks created in recent months.
"They call it a 'skin coat," which is what you and I growing up called it tar and gravel," he said. "That will have a two-week curing time. Then it will get a nice coat of asphalt (all the way to Highway 118, also still known as Highway 78). At Jones Dairy Road and Viking, they will start working there and that will become a signaled intersection. It will get a nice red light and that sort of thing."
The work in that area should be completed by "late May," he said, noting the work should go west to Jasper High School and that the asphalt work after the curing process would take about three weeks.
The sidewalk project is completed other than inspections, he said, adding that some gas line work is also going out outside of the city's project, both on Viking Drive and Airport Road. He said that could be causing some traffic delays.
O'Mary did not know if the new Jones Dairy traffic signal light will have a turn signal.
"My guess is as high capacity it is, it will have turns, but I can't say that with certainty right now," he said.
"The thing the signal at Jones Dairy Road will do will make that a much safer intersection," he said. "I think there was a time it was just a two-way stop. I've talked to business owners at the various quadrants at that intersection. They have observed things that caused them concern. We feel like having a signaled intersection will make it much safer."
He also pointed to the other major work starting across town.
"On Airport Road, we've got to reconfigure access points for CVS Pharmacy, which will be a part of that overall project" which the city is doing to expand and repave the road, he said.
"You will see a widening there," O'Mary said. "The plan for Airport Road is to reconfigure those access points to make them safer and to make it easier for traffic to move off of and onto Airport Road."
Work, which is being put out for bid, will likely start in July and will take road construction on Airport Road from Highway 118 to where one turns into Woodland Hills, O'Mary said, adding the project will "probably take the remainder of the calendar year."
O'Mary then touched on the third major segment of the city's current road plans. He said the bid was approved for the first round of road paving planned with the money that the city borrowed in 2017.
"I will probably know within the next week or so when that will start," he said, hoping to release a list of roads to be paved in the first round.
"In this first round, you will see paving take place on roads all over this city," he said.
At Tuesday's council meeting, the council awarded the bid for Phase 1 of the project to Dunn Construction, which submitted a $1.866 million bid. He noted that bid was $300,000 less than what was estimated. for the project.
"That means we can get a little more mileage out of our money," O'Mary said, adding that he has not signed the contract yet.