Workers were dismayed Tuesday morning to find damage caused by vehicles driving on a section of Poor House Road currently under construction.
The section in question is between Old Highway 25 and South Montgomery Street. The pavement has been completely stripped rather than paved over in order to create a longer-lasting road, completely closing it off except to residents living in the affected area.
Barricades block the construction area, but ruts and tire tracks in the supposed-to-be smooth clay gravel found Tuesday morning suggest the warnings were ignored and the sensitive surface driven over.
In a Facebook post, the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office stressed how important it is that the construction be finished before Oct. 19, the date Mississippi State University plays Louisiana State University in Starkville.
Poor House Road is a major exit path for MSU fans visiting for football games, and the sheriff's office's post warned delays in construction would affect traffic throughout Starkville following the game and cause "major headaches" for everyone in the city.
District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller, who is responsible for the project, said she had been in contact with the contractor, Ken Cook. Miller said the damage was "disappointing" but would likely not affect the road's projected completion date of Oct. 14.
"It's not going to delay the project any, but it is going to add some additional costs," Miller said. "Everything is still on track to be done prior to the LSU game."
The costs, Miller said, will come from additional clay gravel that will need to be purchased to redo the road's foundation and labor.
Initially, the project's bidding cost was $374,977 and was solely funded by money allocated to District 4, meaning no state or grant money was available to cover additional costs.
Miller said it was unclear how much the materials and labor to redo the damaged section would be.
In order to make sure nothing drives the price of the project up more or delays it, Miller said she had spoken to the sheriff's office about preventative measures beyond the existing barricades.
"They're going to be monitoring it in a couple of different ways," Miller said.
Punishment for continued disruptions could vary from a fine to an arrest.
Lt. Jon Davis of the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office said any action taken by law enforcement would likely depend on the amount of damage caused.
Work began on the road on Sept. 21, and at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting, Miller praised the construction crew's performance.
"They have done what they said and worked seven days a week," Miller said.
When completed, roughly 4,000 feet of Poor House Road will be brand new and paved with three coats of chip seal, as opposed to the usual two, laying the groundwork, Miller said, for continued improvements in the future.