As the second phase of work along Highway 12 progresses, work on a new Mississippi Department of Transportation project is underway, and another one will be sent out for bids in the summer.
Work has started on a $1.3 million overlay project on Highway 12 bypass by Highway 182 in east Starkville. The project is seeing pavement laid out along the highway from where it passes by Mississippi State University out to near where it merges onto Highway 82.
The project, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Jace Ponder, is under contract for 43 working days, which means it should be completed in mid-summer, depending on the weather.
As part of the project, Highway 182 is being paved from the west ramps onto Highway 12 to the east ramps onto Highway 12. Work on the ramps, intersections and shoulders should be completed next week.
MDOT Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagert said more work for the Starkville area is in the queue for later in the year. He said his agency will put a project out to bid in the summer that will see about 10 total miles of Highway 182 paved. He said it will focus on Highway 182 west of Starkville from its intersection with Highway 25 out to Adaton where it merges with the four-lane Highway 82. On the east side of Starkville, he said the paving will go from around where the new Partnership School will be, on the north side of MSU’s campus, out to Clayton Village.
As part of that project, Tagert said, MDOT will also install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 182 and East Lee Boulevard.
“Our focus continues to be safety and maintenance improvements as it relates to Highway 12, 182, and the Highway 182-12 bypass,” Tagert said. “The Highway 12 bypass project is a maintenance project. Highway 182 is going to be for maintenance with milling and some minor safety adjustments.”
The two projects are in addition to the ongoing work on the $3.9 million second phase of the Highway 12 improvement project through Starkville. The project will stretch along 4,000 feet of Highway 12, from Eckford Drive to Russell Street. It will see the same type of work as the first phase — which finished late last year and stretched from New Light Road to Eckford Drive — with repaving, improved traffic signals and the installation of raised median curbs.
That project, Tagert said, is primarily safety-focused.
“With the improvements we’re making on Highway 12, we can already see on the west end how much more efficiently traffic is moving,” he said. “Highway 12 sees 26,000 cars per day and that number only continues to increase. Our focus is to make it safer and more efficient, and we’re already seeing results.”
Mayor Lynn Spruill said beautification work for the first phase of Highway 12 should soon begin. The board of aldermen has awarded a contract to SGK Landscaping for the installation and maintenance of the landscaping that will go in the medians along the highway. She said work should begin within the next month or so.
Spruill said she was also thankful for the help Tagert has provided to Starkville through the years, in projects to improve highways 389, 182 and 12.
“I love the work going on,” she said. “I think we owe Mike Tagert a huge debt of gratitude. I don’t think right now we feel that because of the construction, but in the long run it’s going to be safer and much more attractive. It’s something the city could never afford to do on its own.”
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.