Representatives of the Federal Highway Administration, Engineering Associates and the city of Meridian posted pictures of sites under consideration for an interstate interchange to a new industrial park. The agencies solicited written comment from the public.
Jeffrey W. Kolb of the Federal Highway Administration said the rule is that interchanges must be three miles apart in rural areas and one mile apart in urban areas, but that can be altered.
"The guideline itself has some flexibility regarding definition of rural or urban areas and that is a judgment call as to whether an area is urban, urbanized, rapidly urbanizing or it is rural and solidly rural," Kolb said.
Carl Ray Furr, senior vice president of Engineering Associates, explained why the final decision has been delayed.
"There was some concern about the location at Hawkins Crossing, so we're evaluating others east of the interstate as we speak. We're showing those alternatives. There are about seven of them and we're taking the comments into consideration, and then we will go to what we call a formal public hearing in about maybe 60 days," Furr said.
Furr said he believes it will take 18 months from now until the start of construction. Meanwhile, private citizen Cedomir Dinic said he is still confused.
"Coming down here tonight just to get some clarifying information," Dinic said. "One thing I don't see in bold letters somewhere is the purpose of this interchange. I see several competing interests: the mall, entertainment center, a commercial development site and a public development site all vying for an interchange."
Dinic said he doesn't believe one interchange can serve them all successfully.