On Monday the Madison County Board of Supervisors voted down the Reunion Parkway project for a road that would have eased bottleneck traffic on Mississippi 463, which provides access to three middle schools, said supervisor Tim Johnson.
The Parkway would have provided additional access to St. Dominic Hospital’s proposed Madison Campus.
Certificate of Need (CON) hearings for approval of the new hospital were set to begin Wednesday but have been moved to Thursday.
The timing of the road project’s end and the one-day delay in the hearings is a coincidence, said Paul Arrington, St. Dominic’s vice president of business development . Both parties decided to put back the hearing by one day, he said.
St. Dominic’s proposed new hospital is being opposed by Health Management Associates Inc. (HMA), owners of the current Madison County Medical Center on East Peace Street in Canton. HMA has broken ground on a new $42 million facility off Nissan Parkway in Canton.
“We have great access. It won’t affect plans for the hospital,” Arrington said. The new facility would be accessible via Mississippi 463 and Galleria Parkway. “From our perspective (Reunion Parkway) is going to get built sometime. It’s a matter of when, not if,” he said.
St. Dominic’s supports the road, which will be a road for the people, not just St. Dominic’s, Arrington said.
Supervisor Tim Johnson said he doesn’t think the road’s vote-down will affect the outcome of the CON hearings.
“My understanding is that with or without the interchange, the hearing would have been a 50-50 no matter what. But we as a board have pushed the Reunion project for the past four years. We believe it is one of the most important roads in Mad County to be built,” Johnson said.
The Board voted unanimously to turn down the project due to the conditions of a new Memorandum of Understanding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which put the burden of financing on Madison County residents.
Johnson said someone within MDOT is “playing games.” MDOT had Madison’s plans for 17 months but called and said they had changes 10 days before bids were supposed to be accepted, Johnson said. MDOT submitted 105 changes to the MOU.
“It was told to us this project was rat-holed. This is what you do to a project when you want it killed. Somebody (within MDOT) did not want this project built. That’s sad,” Johnson said.
Madison County was going to put more than $30 million into the project, Johnson said. The project’s estimated cost was between $37 million and $42 million.