STARKVILLE — The initial phase of the Louisville Street widening project is set to begin Monday.
Traffic will be greatly affected, as construction will force the street to one lane. At no point during construction will the street completely close, said Aaron Gregory, of Columbus-based Gregory Construction.
“Traffic will be much slower than normal, so we encourage motorists to take an alternate route if possible,” he said.
Construction signs and erosion control items will be installed by midweek, Gregory said. By Feb. 3, crews will break ground on the $1.2 million project.
The work will begin at the southwest corner of Louisville Street and Lynn Lane, near the Chevron station. Crews will tear out existing curbs and install new storm drainage.
“It’s something you won’t see but will be a good investment,” said City Engineer Edward Kemp, who noted most of the existing pipes are undersized and needed to be replaced soon.
The finished product will see Louisville Street widened from two lanes to three with a middle turn lane between Lynn Lane and Yellow Jacket Drive. Bicycle lanes will be painted along northbound and southbound traffic lanes, curbs and gutters will be installed on both sides of the street and a sidewalk will be constructed on the west side of the road. The existing road surface along the 3,200-foot-long stretch also will be improved.
City officials said the work will lessen traffic congestion on what has become a major thoroughfare.
After completion, which Gregory said will be late September, Louisville Street will be three lanes from Highway 12 to Academy Road.
Kemp said the construction will improve the marketability of Louisville Street, which has three shopping centers, and allow for easier access to retail areas. The sidewalks, he said, are an essential component because of Starkville High School’s location on Yellow Jacket Drive and the two connections to Longmeadow Subdivision on Louisville Street.
A crosswalk will be added near the flashing yellow light at the rear entrance to the high school campus. There are currently no sidewalks on Louisville Street.
Kemp also is confident the construction will have an impact on economic development, both on existing businesses and by sparking growth on undeveloped property.
“I think that when finished, Louisville Street will be one of the most attractive roadways in the city,” he said. “Three lanes, a grass strip on the west side for landscaping and an 8-feet-wide sidewalk. In addition to that, we’re also putting two median islands to promote more aesthetic appeal to the roadway.”
Eighty percent of the project — $960,000 — is being funded through the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Program. The city is required to provide a 20 percent match to the grant, or $240,000, which puts the total project at $1.2 million.