Long-awaited work on 5th, 13th Aves. to start next week

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Two of the biggest and most anticipated road-paving projects in Laurel are set to begin on Monday.

Work will begin on 5th Avenue “from the flagpole” on Central Avenue in the heart of downtown to the city limits, Mayor Johnny Magee said.

“I’m so grateful that it’s getting under way,” Magee said. “I know people are going to complain about detours … but we just ask that they be patient. In about a year-and-a-half, we’ll have it finished.”

Magee agreed that, out of the 31 streets that are being repaved, 5th Avenue is the one he gets the most complaints about, “and I agree with them,” he added. It’s a major thoroughfare through the historic section of the city and it is rife with potholes and dips all the way to where it forks into Sharon Road and Hoy Road.

The other major paving project that’s set to start Monday is 13th Avenue, from Jefferson Street to 12th Street.

The total street-paving cost is expected to be $5.3 million. The 5th Avenue project is the most expensive one on the list, estimated at just under $1.2 million. The 13th Avenue part is the third highest, estimated at just over $647,000.

City taxpayers are footing the bill for the paving, and the Corps of Engineers and the state chipped in some money for the 5th Avenue project. There was some discussion with the Board of Supervisors about paying for part of the project, but that “never came through,” Magee said.