City hopes MDOT will build roundabout on Hardy St.

City hopes MDOT will build roundabout on Hardy St.
Source: The City of Hattiesburg.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - City leaders are hoping the Mississippi Department of Transportation will help fund two improvement projects in the Hub City.

The Hattiesburg City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize two applications to MDOT's Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The grant program works on an 80-20 format, which means the agency would cover 80 percent of costs, and the city would cover the rest.

One of the grant applications is for a roundabout project on Hardy St.

"We have five streets that intersect in this area, and if you've ever tried to take a left turn onto Adeline, you can't get there before the light changes," said Councilwoman Mary Dryden. "We just have a problem there."

According to the city's application for TAP, the goal of the roundabout project would be to "create a safe, attractive, and functional entrance to Downtown Hattiesburg from the West." Mayor Toby Barker agrees.

"Right now, you have a real chaotic system of stoplights there as five roads come together," said Barker. "If the roundabout is of sufficient size where people can figure out how to work it, you can move traffic faster, and I think safer, through that area."

While city leaders do not have a timeline for when they will hear from MDOT on the grant, a proposed schedule estimates that news could come in March.  If awarded, the city expects to submit plans, specifications, and a cost estimate to MDOT by December of 2018.

"I think it's always good to have a vision about what could be. Anything that could make the quality of life better for the people who live here," said Dryden.

The second grant would be used for the Lillie Burney Sidewalk Program. According to the application for that project, construction would work in conjunction with several projects already underway to improve bicycle access throughout the city.