Pictured is a map of the approximately two-mile, multimodal transportation corridor on the eastern perimeter of Mississippi State University. The university has been awarded a $7 million federal grant to complete the project. Photo by: Courtesy image
March 8, 2018 10:47:36 AM
Mississippi State University has been awarded a $7 million federal grant to complete a two-mile multimodal transportation corridor on the eastern side of its campus.
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) office announced the awarding of the grant Tuesday evening. The university successfully applied for a 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which was approved by the United States Department of Transportation, to fund the project.
The grant will allow MSU to build the project, which is a north-south corridor that will primarily link Blackjack Road and Lee Boulevard, with a spur that connects Blackjack to Morrill Road. The Hightower Road corridor will be located east of campus and partially flow along the road that leads off of Blackjack Road to The Pointe at MSU and Campus Trails apartment complexes.
A press release from MSU notes the project will include sidewalks, bike lanes, transit shelters, signal improvements and street lighting. The improvements will be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
"Mississippi State proposed this multimodal project to help alleviate gridlock and improve safety for students, faculty, visitors, and Starkville residents," Cochran said in an issued statement. "I'm pleased that the Department of Transportation will invest in this project, which will improve the overall quality of life for the Starkville and Oktibbeha County community."
Cochran recommended the project in a letter last October to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Cochran chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, and recently announced he will retire on April 1.
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss) also supported the project, which he said should help alleviate traffic issues on the east side of MSU's campus.
"As Mississippi State University continues to grow, existing roads around campus have struggled to keep up with the increase in traffic," Wicker said. "I enthusiastically endorsed this TIGER grant application to help ease congestion for Starkville residents and provide a safer, more accessible route on the east side of campus for the university's students, faculty and visitors."
MSU President Mark Keenum said he is grateful for the support of both Mississippi senators in securing the TIGER grant.
"The Hightower Road project is crucial not only to alleviating current traffic issues, but in the future growth and development of our Starkville campus," Keenum said. "We thank Senators Cochran and Wicker for their tireless work in moving this project forward."
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