July 19, 2013 11:36:39 AM
Starkville commuters should see increased activity and potential delays on Miss. Highway 182 in the coming weeks as workers begin a significant improvement project to the important thoroughfare.
North Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert confirmed the planned $2.8 million project is expected to continue through November, weather permitting. Improvements will include significant road overlays within the city limits.
Commuters should exercise caution as workers begin removing surface asphalt with milling machines.
Columbus-based contractor Falcon Construction is handling the project, Tagert said.
Saw-and-seal methods, which provide flexibility at individual joint intersections, will be utilized in overlay work. This technique helps reduce bulking and dislocation problems, he said.
"Highway 182 represents one of the major entry ways into the city. It sees about 10,000-plus vehicles per day," Tagert said. "This project is first and foremost designed to improve safety, but there's certainly no question having adequate infrastructure is vital when trying to develop and recruit businesses in major corridors."
City Engineer Edward Kemp first briefed aldermen on the project in April. Kemp's report detailed other minor efforts associated with the project, including developing landscape islands, improving sidewalk access and re-pouring driveways.
Proper turning lanes in the Henderson-Ward Stewart school area will be installed by workers, Tagert said, and the entire project should allow the city to pursue federal funding for sidewalk connections in the area. Landscape islands create an additional buffer between sidewalks and roadways. Within those buffers, the city could plant trees or other shrubbery.
In April, Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver called the project the most positive news he had heard in his first four years on the board, while Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins said it could provide one of the greatest improvements the road has seen in a substantial amount of time.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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