Dick Hall, central district transportation commissioner, delivered a new traffic study to city officials on Thursday. He said its findings can help determine the future of this city.
"It's absolutely, probably the number one necessity for economic development," said Hall. "Being able to move around, move goods, move people. You've got to plan and we realized we really didn't have a plan for what's going to happen in the Meridian area, the Lauderdale County area, east central Mississippi area, over the next 20, 30 years."
The findings were conclusive the commissioner said.
"We're strongly suggesting of a building of a south bypass that would take the traffic that is going from Atlanta to New Orleans to bypass downtown Meridian. Also there's been talk about a north bypass for many years and the study does show, yes, there is need for one," said Hall.
Currently, about 40,000 cars per day go through our city the interstate. MDOT says by the year 2030 that figure will be up to 80,000 and some relief will be a necessity.
Mark Bailey, vice-president of Neel Shaffer Inc, which did the study, explained why.
"Based on the analysis we did, there are several routes that showed there was going to be some concerns that the traffic growth would be such the existing number of lanes would not adequately handle that," said Mark Bailey, vice-president of V.P. Neel Shaffer. "These areas would start experiencing delays and things that would be detrimental to traffic flow."
Hall said the choice over the next 25 years is either bypasses or to widen the interstate through Meridian.