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Officials unveil multi-million-dollar plan to enhance highway

EAST MISSISSIPPI — State transportation officials expect to spend about $2 million on improvements to Mississippi Highway 182.

The Commercial Dispatch reports Starkville city engineer Edward Kemp told local officials work would include overlaying the road’s surface within city limits, developing landscape islands, improving sidewalk access and re-pouring driveways.

Kemp said bid advertisements are expected to begin in June and construction could start shortly after work contracts are signed with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Until then, officials will continue hammering out the design and details associated with the rehabilitation, Kemp said.

“Construction is tentatively scheduled to finish early spring of next year,” he said. “If the weather cooperates, it could be done this calendar year.”

Highway 182 — formerly U.S. Highway 82 — originally served as a primary two-lane thoroughfare through the state. A portion of the road was widened to three lanes within the Starkville city limits. Even though the U.S. Highway 82 bypass was constructed, the road is still heavily used by local traffic.

Landscape islands create an additional buffer between sidewalks and roadways. Within those buffers, the city could plant trees or other shrubbery. Sidewalk improvements will be included within landscape islands. Those improvements, Kemp said, will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the city will also try to make newly poured driveways compliant.

Newly created sidewalk corridors could be tied to future Safe Routes to School grants, Kemp said.

“MDOT has to have this project completed by March or April 2014,” Kemp said. “(We told MDOT) we don’t want to deter what you have on the board. We can look at improving walkability at a later time through another project.”

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