USM to install fence along main roads

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The USM campus will be looking a little more shapely by the end of 2012; the University is defining its borders.

The plans are for an open rectangle - fences on the three sides of campus that border main roads Hardy Street, Highway 49 and 4th Street.

The fence will be roughly seven feet high, meant to keep students in  - and channel them towards designated crosswalks. It will be brick and wrought iron – built to match the structure at the campus's main entrance, and similar to the design of the college's Century Park gates in place now.

The brick and wrought iron fence will make for a prettier, picture but university officials say it is primarily a safety measure, an effort to channel students toward designated crosswalks.

A University official said the project is not in reaction to any specific incident, but a precautionary measure - to avoid accidents in the future. Currently, students can often be seen crossing from campus across the street to local businesses and restaurants, not using crosswalks, but walking briskly across non-designated crossings to beat oncoming traffic.

The project will be paid for through an M-DOT grant and the university will pick up twenty percent of the tab.

Still in the development stages, construction will likely start in the spring, and the tentative plan would have the fence built by December.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.