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.