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Major infrastructure project announced in Meridian

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 4:33 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A big announcement was made Wednesday by the city of Meridian and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. It includes new lights, cameras, wider lanes and a lot of paving.

The project includes several phases starting with Highway 19. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will pave 19 near North Hills Street and all the way to Interstate 20 near the airport.

“It moves a lot of folks pass the community college from the interstate back into the Philadelphia area. We are going to do the work on that project,” MDOT Central Commissioner Willie Simmons said. “That project has been moved up and that’s going to be the first thing we do on 19 in this area.”

Other phases include paving inside the city of Meridian.

“The third phase will be on 8th St. from the McDonalds on 19 all the way to the Temple Theater,” Mayor Percy Bland said.

Bland said the city of Meridian will also pave 45th Ave. from 8th St. to Highland Park Dr. He said that project should begin in April or May.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is planning to overhaul Interstate 20/59 through Meridian.

“It goes from the intersection of 20 and 59 where they come together on the west side of town and it’s going all the way to the state line,” MDOT Dist. 5 Engineer Neil Patterson said.

The project covers more than 20 miles of interstate and includes widening at least three bridges. One bridge travels over 65th Ave., another runs over Highway 19 and the bridges over Knight Parker Road will be removed and filled.

“It’s a safety project but it also is going to help the business community because it’s going to widen the lanes and widen the bridges. We’ve created new lights on it to make it safer,”

In addition to LED lighting, the $25 million overhaul will also add three dynamic message signs.

“We can put messages out there for the traveling public. We can notify them about anything from closures or inclement weather they could be approaching,” Patterson explained. “It will give them plenty of warning before they get to the issues.”

MDOT will also place several of its traffic cameras through Meridian. The project is a design build, which basically means the contractors will design as they construct.

“They have complete freedom in how they do it. We just tell them they have a certain amount of money and they do as many bridges and as much work they can get done with that amount of money,” Patterson said.

Patterson said the three bridges mentioned earlier must be included in the work.

All of these projects will lead to delays and detours, but Commissioner Simmons said it will be worth it.

“It makes you inconvenient, but inconvenience leads to good things,” Simmons explained. “It leads to better traffic and more safety. Just be patient with us as we move through this process.”

A lot of the funding for the MDOT projects will come from the Mississippi lottery.

Construction should begin sometime this summer.

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