July 7, 2010 11:09:00 AM
The construction of a highway bypass is not an apathetic event for a city as unfortunately some were reported to have felt in your article of Friday, June 18th. A bypass is much more than traffic counts. A bypass can direct the growth and unfortunately also the decay of a city for years to come.
Missing from your reporting and from the MDOT report presented is a study of land uses along the bypass and how a change in land use even at some distance from the bypass will affect the city of Columbus.
While the route of the bypass will have a direct impact on residences, businesses and the natural environment, the road connections to Lincoln Road and Bluecutt Road will impact both those roads and the existing communities on those roads. The connections to Waverly Ferry Road from the new interchanges may open up land for new development as well, impacting Columbus as a whole.
At the Carl Small Town Center we have been studying the effect of highway bypasses on small towns and have found that understanding what will happen to the land connected to the bypass is just as important as the impact of the route itself. We would urge the city of Columbus to consider a complementary effort of planning along with MDOT''s study to better understand how a new bypass will affect future commercial and residential development as well as the existing agricultural and natural lands connected to the proposed bypass.
The writer is director of the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University.
bob commented at 7/9/2010 11:00:00 AM:
Wow, some common sense!! The Bypass as proposed is a HUGE mistake and a GIANT waste of $200 million dollars especially with all of the state budget cuts going on right now, but......if Columbus is truly looking at doing this, it needs to be planned for. Columbus needs a master plan.......NOW. Don't rush into this Bypass project without looking at its' future effects on Highway 45's shops, the land and wildlife around the proposed bypass, the neighborhoods located near the bypass and the downtown area.
doj commented at 7/9/2010 12:01:00 PM:
There is one thing that folks who have lived here all of our lives clearly understand that our newly transported neighbors don't. Columbus is built on a series of hills between two rivers and is surrounded by swamps. Once you get off the hills, you are in the flood plain. The Tombigbee Waterway, not withstanding, will do little to alleviate flooding if the proper amount of rain falls. The Tenn Tom is designed for transportation, not flood control. During my lifetime, I have seen Columbus cut off as an island from the rest of the world three times with all highways and roads out of town under water and a major part of low lying residentual areas impacted. This new bypass goes through the heart of the flood plain and flowway. Under the present flood control enactments, it would extremely difficult to build out there without impeding the flowway. Just because you have never seen a major flood doesn't mean it won't happen again. It is not a case of "if" it will happen, but "when" it will happen. That is the price you pay for living in a river bottom. I think Poros is trying to drum up busuness for the Small Town Center, and that's OK. We need planning before we take a huge leap of faith into the unknown, but we should also consider the effect of changing Mother Nature. After all, Mother Nature is a B****h.
brian commented at 7/9/2010 1:52:00 PM:
Environmental/land use studies are always part of the due diligence before these type projects are implemented. Has there been any negative impact on Starkville since the Hwy 82/25 bypass was completed?
doj commented at 7/9/2010 1:58:00 PM:
brian, Starkville's bypass wasn't built through a swamp.
td commented at 7/9/2010 9:43:00 PM:
Hey Bob, Columbus does have a master plan and part of that plan includes some sort of 45-bypass.
I'm amazed at how many people want Columbus to grow economically and bring in franchished stores and restaurants. But many of those same people are upset at building a by-pass because of the cost.
Build the by-pass first and then new businesses will come -- rather than the other way around!
bob commented at 7/10/2010 11:59:00 AM:
Hey TD, what new business is going to come because of a bypass? I think that most of the current businesses along 45 will just move causing a "ghost town" appearance. Remember, the new mall right on 82 and 45 was abandoned recently. This is a much more traveled area than the bypass will ever be plus it's almost as close to Starkville and West Point as Columbus!! The downtown area is already hurting and now you want to move the traffic farther away from downtown Columbus?? As far as the Master Plan, I've heard civic leaders as well as current city council members say that we need a master plan. If a plan does exist and does call for "some sort of 45-bypass", this is the WRONG one.