STARKVILLE — Mississippi Department of Transportation is preparing a resurfacing and “reconfiguration” project for a section of Highway 389 — from Highway 182 to Highway 82.
This “road diet” will convert the existing four-lane section of Highway 389 into a three-lane section with a two-way turn lane in the center and will build bike paths along the shoulders, MDOT District 1 Engineer Mark Holley told aldermen at their Friday work session.
Even though the section of the highway will be going from four lanes to three, Holley said MDOT conducted a traffic study that showed this lane reduction would not significantly impact the flow of traffic even projected out to 20 years in an urban city. He said the project’s purpose is to improve the condition of Highway 389 while also making transportation alternatives available.
“I’m just basically here today as part of this change,” Holley said. “We needed public involvement.”
Holley said this project will begin in June and construction will last three to four months. Because it is a state highway, MDOT is covering all of the costs for the project.
Some parts of Highway 389 have substantial problems caused by moisture, Holley said, and MDOT will have to perform extreme milling on portions of the highway.
“When you start to see that condition in the pavement that means your problem has reached your base,” Holley said. “In some of those areas, we will be going deeper to take care of those.”
Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty proposed including brick crosswalks to portions of the highway as well. Holley said MDOT had not planned on adding any crosswalks, but he would look into it.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said the reconfigured roadway will positively affect the travel into the city from the north.
The project also will tie together with a planned $12.66 million revitalization of Highway 182 — which the city is funding with a federal grant — that will include walking/biking paths.
“I love the opportunity for us to better use our streets in Starkville,” Spruill said. “I’m excited that we have another avenue and another way to partner with MDOT in making a community effort on enhanced transportation options.”
Spruill also commented that having bike lanes will encourage people to use different modes of transportation.
“I think people will become more and more acclimated to, accustomed to and intent on using more forms of transportation than just cars and trucks,” Spruill said.
Beatty echoed this enthusiasm and approval of the project and said he believes this overlay will give Highway 389 the upgrade it needs.
“I’m ecstatic about it because the road is in bad shape,” Beatty said. “It’s gonna be beautiful now.”