After seven years in planning and development, a joint City of Lucedale and County road will finally be wider, safer, smoother and more attractive.
J.E. Talley Construction, Inc., Pascagoula, has been awarded the contract to widen and resurface the two-lane road connecting Old Highway 63 and Hwy. 26. Additionally, Twin Creek Road, which currently ties into the intersection of Scott Road and Hwy. 26 will be re-routed to intersect with Scott Road on the west side of St. Lucy Catholic Church. The new road will have curbs and gutters replacing the ditches. It will also have a third, or turn lane for much of the distance. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 30. Construction is expected to begin by about mid-October and making allowances for the holiday season and weather, should be completed early next year.
"This is one of the best interlocal (joint City and County) projects that we have done," said George County Board of Supervisors president Henry Cochran.
When City and County officials began planning the project seven years ago, it was anticipated to cost about $800,000, more than either the City and County could fund on their own. Cost and price increases over time have now taken the project to approximately $1.6 million.
"Without the help of State Senator Dennis DeBar and Representatives Manley Barton and Doug McLeod, this project could never have happened," Cochran said.
The state Legislature appropriated $350,000 for the project three years ago, according to Cochran and another $600,000 the following year. Another nearly $400,000 has come from Gulf Coast Restore Act (BP settlement) funds. The balance is being shared by the City and County.
"This project is important for a number of reasons, with safety probably one of the most important," said Lucedale Mayor Doug Lee. "School buses use that street and Singing River Electric vehicles travel it as well as people going to the Gulf Coast Community College campus, Walmart and other businesses in that area. It is one of the highest traffic streets in the City."
During construction, one lane will remain open to traffic with all traffic entering on the east end and exiting on the west end at Hwy. 26. Eastbound traffic will be re-routed north to Ventura Street, Lee said.
Scott Road was constructed as a narrow two-lane street through a sparsely populated residential area about 50 years ago.