Beltway connecting Hwy 49 and Hwy 98 may be a possibility - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Beltway connecting Hwy 49 and Hwy 98 may be a possibility

MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

"One of the first steps in that process is a feasibility study",

Andrew Ellard with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations says a Western Beltway connecting highway 49 and West Highway 98 may be a possibility, but is still a long way off. Ellard says, "We are even at the very infancy phase of the feasibility study itself"

An association of Pinebelt engineering firms has been conducting the study which would determine if such a roadway is even a priority for the area. "As simply put as possible, what are the traffic patterns, would people use these routes, and then of course the big question is... is it worth the money it would take to build such a road," Ellard says.

The study has convened open hearings just to get input from the public and there will be more to come. Ellard says, "There have been two public hearings so far. One in Rawls Springs and one yesterday in Lamar County"

There are three concepts for the sake of the feasibility study, and each take the Beltway from Pep's Point Road and Highway 49 with the possibility of alternating paths. One would stop on Jackson Rd, the second would stop at Cole Road, and a third veering close to Sumrall meeting up with Highway 589. Variations include two lane or four lane, passing lanes, and or sidewalks.

Ellard says, "The ten million dollar question is the funding" If the Beltway even comes into fruition which could take ten years or more... Options for funding the massive road project will then be looked at.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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