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City partners with MDOT for upgrades

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 8:39 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The city of Meridian has partnered with the Mississippi Department of Transportation for three major upgrades to area roads and bridges.

The first change involves paving the newly rerouted Sweet Gum Bottom Rd. Other improvements will focus on widening interstate bridges through Meridian, as well as adding LED lighting.

Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons said this will cause minor inconveniences with traffic flow, but it’s worth it.

“This area will be inconvenienced for a while, because in closing the road it means you’ll have to go around. In the end it will improve the system,” Simmons told the Meridian Council.

The project is estimated to cost around $25 million. Some of the funding for the upgrades will come from the Mississippi Lottery.

A portion of another road, which is not too far from Sweet Gum Bottom Rd., will be closed. The request came from MDOT.

“They are requesting that we close Knight Parker Rd. This will allow MDOT to make some repairs to a bridge on the 20/59 corridor. It will save Mississippi around $7 million,” Public Works Director Hugh Smith said in Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The Council voted to close the portion of Knight Parker Rd. from Jimmie Rogers Parkway to the interstate bridge. Ward 2 Councilman Dwayne Davis says there have been complaints involving trash dumping and other negative activities.

“They are satisfied, along with the property owners. I came to them and they also approved it. There have been reports of dumping tires and drug use out there,” Davis said.

The city will also be applying for a TAP grant for new sidewalks near Magnolia Middle School. There will also be other discussions involving another paving project in Meridian.

“Highway 19 and 8th Street. There some improvements that need to be taking place there, such as the paving,” Simmons said.

A timeline for the new upgrades wasn’t given during Tuesday’s meeting.

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