Public meetings planned on four-lane work

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2003

CENTREVILLE &045; Officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation will hold a series of public meetings next week to seek input from Wilk-Amite area residents on the planned four-laning of Mississippi 24/48.

MDOT agents and consultants will listen to residents’ comments and answer questions regarding the project, which calls for doubling the east-west highway from U.S. 61 in Woodville to Interstate 55 in McComb.

The meetings will include aerial photography maps that show the proposed path of the new construction.

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&uot;It will be an open forum where people can look at the maps and ask questions,&uot; said Cedric Durr, a community involvement specialist in the MDOT’s environmental division.

The current proposal follows state route 48 from Centreville to Liberty, leaving state route 24 through Gloster a two-lane highway.

&uot;It’s still early in the study.

I don’t want to say Gloster is excluded, because there may be various alternatives presented later. Right now, we want to bring them into the discussion,&uot; Durr said.

The project calls for a &uot;context sensitive&uot; design, which emphasizes landscape enhancement and the preservation of community and cultural aspects in addition to safety, mobility and functionality.

&uot;We’ve hired a consultant to conduct a year-long study of environmental issues,&uot; Durr said.

The MDOT will use the environmental assessments to help determine the feasibility of bypass alternatives in Centreville and Liberty and possible realignment of the roadway in some areas.

The project will have to be officially funded before the state can begin buying right-of-way from property owners and start construction, Durr said.

&uot;There is usually a two to three year time frame after the study before any construction begins,&uot; he said.