June 15, 2010 10:47:00 AM
At a public hearing Thursday at the Trotter Convention Center, area residents will have an opportunity to ask questions of Mississippi Department of Transportation representatives and make comments on a U.S. Highway 45 bypass project.
During the hearing, which will be held from 4-7 p.m., residents will have an opportunity to view maps of two routes proposed for the bypass, which will be about eight miles long, with four miles to be located in the city and county each.
Residents can come and go as they choose during the informally structured hearing, city officials said, noting documentation on environmental aspects of the two routes also will be available.
Each of the two routes, which vary only slightly, begin at Waters Truck and Tractor on East Plymouth Road and end at the north gate of Columbus Air Force Base on Highway 45 North.
The project is not expected to be completed until 2020. After the hearing, the route will be finalized and then preliminary work, including surveys, land acquisition and environmental assessments will begin.
Construction likely will begin within three years, Columbus Mayor Robert Smith earlier said.
The bypass project was initiated in 2003; previous public hearings provided input which narrowed routes under consideration from six to the two routes, which will be presented to the public Thursday.