Some Lamar residents worried beltway study could lead to new work on Jackson Road

Some Lamar residents worried beltway study could lead to new work on Jackson Road

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Some Lamar County residents are concerned a proposed roadway which would link highways 98 and 49 could lead to new construction on Jackson Road, which was just re-worked as part of a major transportation project.

About two dozen folks met at the Jackson Road Community Center Wednesday night to see the results of a feasibility study of a new western beltway, which would run through both Lamar and Forrest counties.  The Hattiesburg-Petal-Forrest-Lamar Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) sponsored that study.

It proposes three alternatives to join 49 and 98, including one that would begin at Jackson Road and end at Pep's Point Road. Some Jackson Road residents said that's a bad idea and are hoping other routes will be chosen.

"What I'm concerned about now as a taxpayer is how could we possibly start looking at going back in here now and making that $4.5 million project a four-lane road, re-negotiating property rights, moving all the utilities again and going through all that disruption when we've just gotten through with that project, it just absolutely makes no sense," said Phil Orton, a Jackson Road resident.

Two other alternatives would begin at Cole Road and end at Pep's Point Road. Metropolitan Planning Organization representatives said all three options will get equal consideration before a final decision is made.

"Every option is being considered," said Joseph Yawn, a geographical information systems technician with the Metropolitan Planning Organization. "If they weren't, they wouldn't be on the map and part of the project. They're all being looked at equally," he said.

The completed study will be passed on to the Metropolitan Planning Organization by the end of the month.