LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Developers have a plan to alleviate traffic on one of Lamar County's busiest roads, but it will take some time.
"That area is identified as an urban area, it's in the county, but it's urban," said County Administrator Jody Waits. "It has everything you'd find in an urban area. Schools, churches, government offices, a library, homes."
But some of those home, land and business owners are concerned about the more than $4-million project. At the meeting Monday, many agreed the expansion of the road would help alleviate traffic, but asked if the addition of the pathway was necessary.
"The Longleaf Trace is a gym for our community and this is an urban version of that," said Waits.
One woman, who said she owned land along Old Highway 11, said the pathway would give people an option to go for a walk or ride a bike, something that is not available now.
"We believe with the number of homes in the area and the desire of people to move about that with the multi-use path, you'll see an increase movement of pedestrians and bicyclist in that area," Waits said.
Right now, the county has secured $3.2 million of federal funding for the project. Officials are currently speaking to property owners to acquire right-of-way for over 60 parcels, which is expected to take the rest of the year.
"Some of them are concerned about access to their property during construction, we reassured them thy would have constant access," said Waits. "They were concerned about bottlenecks in traffic, which our contractors are going to work diligently to make sure that flows."
Waits said street lighting is not included in the project, but could be added down the road. The plans do include coordination of traffic signals.
The goal for Lamar County is to one day extend the pathway to the Optimist Park and then on to the Rails and Trails at Longleaf Trace. Construction for the expansion project is not expected to get underway for at least 18 months.