Bunkie holds groundbreaking to begin Main Street sidewalk project

The long-awaited state-funded sidewalk construction project has started on Main Street in Bunkie. On Aug. 10, a group including officials representing Bunkie, Merrick Construction of Cottonport and Bunkie Service League held a groundbreaking for the project on Main Street, across from the Bunkie Depot.

Merrick Construction was awarded the contract in mid-April with a bid of $286,445. The project to repair sidewalks on Main Street is funded in large part with a Transportation Enhancement Program grant.

“This project had been in the making for almost six years,” Robertson told the group. “On April 20, 2011 we received an e-mail from State Rep. Robert Johnson in regards to the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). In August 2011, the application was completed and submitted with assistance from Pan American Engineers. On Oct. 17, 2011 Bunkie received a letter that our project had been selected to participate in the TEP.”

Due to state funding issues, the project was delayed until June 15, 2015 when the City Council authorized the mayor to sign all documents regarding the sidewalk project. Almost a year later, the agreement with DOTD was signed and approved. Merrick Construction was awarded the bid in April and on June 19 the state told Bunkie officials to proceed.

Robertson thanked Johnson for “making us aware that the grant was available” and to several staff members of Pan American Engineers who worked on the project.

Work on the .355-mile project should take 90 work days to complete, depending on the weather. There will be no street closings but sidewalks will be closed in areas where work in underway.

The sidewalk will be on the west side of Main Street, from Lexington Street to Pine Street. The project also calls for making the sidewalks handicapped-accessible, planting 27 dwarf holly trees, providing six benches, six trash receptacles and six flower pots.

Decorative street signs will be added at each street corner in the project.

“It will make an awesome improvement to the Main Street area of Bunkie,” Robertson said. “The city will be contacting property owners, asking them to improve the frontage of the their buildings facing Main Street.”

Driveways going into businesses along the project will be improved to meet DOTD standards because they are part of the sidewalk project.

Robertson asked that all motorists take precaution when driving on Main Street during the construction phase.

“This will allow people easier access to the sidewalks on Main Street in the future,” Robertson continued. “We are very excited that this project has come to fruition after so many years of planning and design.”

Civic groups and businesses in Bunkie have maintained the flower pots on Main Street and work to keep the area clean and looking good, the mayor said.

He said the Service League has “worked tirelessly to help keep something blooming in the planter boxes” on Main Street. Those planters will be moved to side streets.

The Service League is also involved in selecting the black iron benches, trash receptacles and planters that will be placed on Main Street.

Robertson thanked the Chamber of Commerce, Gibko Nursery, Scott’s Ace Hardware, Gibko Sign, Progressive Tractor and several volunteers to their efforts to keep Main Street looking good.

He singled out Chris and John Juneau for special notice for “adopting” the Veterans Memorial and keeping it clean and attractive.


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