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Delay Of Chucky Mullins Roundabout Leads To Drastic Price Increase

Intersection of Chucky Mullins and Hill Drive, photo by Steven Gagliano

With traffic continuing to increase in Oxford, especially around the Ole Miss campus, solutions are being drawn up by the city.
An area of concern is the four-way intersection at Chucky Mullins and Hill Drive where a roundabout will be implemented in the near future. Construction will begin on May 18, shortly after the semester ends. 
Plans for the roundabout were initially proposed in 2008, and the project was initiated in 2010. At the time, the design budget for the project was $700,000. A design was in the process of being completed in 2013 with construction set to begin in 2014, but due to the “volume of construction” city officials felt it would be “unwise” to start a new construction process which would hinder traffic, require moving of large materials among other factors. 
One major factor was the strength of the University Avenue bridge which would’ve caused a traffic issue on the Ole Miss campus. Ian Banner, director of facilities planning and university architect, described the problems that could’ve been caused by starting the project before this was dealt with. 
“We realized that there were structural deficiencies in the University Avenue bridge over Gertrude Ford Boulevard,” Banner said. “While the bridge was safe for most traffic, it could not accommodate large construction vehicles. Therefore, the bridge needed to be repaired before the roundabout could begin because if Hill Drive were closed, construction traffic would need to enter campus from the east via the bridge. This increased the pressure to keep Chucky Mullins and Hill Drive open until the bridge was repaired in the summer of 2016.”
Now that other projects such as the Pavilion and the parking garage have been completed, the Department of Facilities Planning decided that it was time to move forward with the roundabout project. The years of delay leave the University with a significantly higher price to pay, as the construction work is placed at $1.8 million. 
“The chronological planning of all construction activities has delayed the beginning of this long-awaited project, and we are pleased that the project is now about to begin,” Banner said. “However, a strong construction economy over time has caused prices to rise. The low bid for the construction work was $1.8 million.”
Ian Banner, photo courtesy; Robert Jordan, UM Photography

Banner noted that the $1.8 million doesn’t include design fees, construction engineering and inspection, miscellaneous project costs (such as printing, advertising, Facilities Management charges and landscaping) and project contingency plans. This means that the project will exceed $2 million, over $1.3 million over the original estimate. 
The roundabout is anticipated to be completed on August 11, 2017. 

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com
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