MDOT begins demolition, prepares for road work

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

Now that most buildings in the footprint of the planned Liberty Road interchange have been vacated, they will be demolished very soon, according to a state Department of Transportation official.

&uot;Buildings should all be vacated by March 18, and demolition will be by April 15,&uot; District Engineer Darrell Broome said Wednesday.

Work on the new interchange at Liberty Road and Seargent S. Prentiss Drive should start this summer, with bids let for the contract in June, Broome said.

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The project will involve replacement of the aging, deteriorating bridge over Liberty Road and construction of a partial cloverleaf with turnoffs on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

The project has actually been in the planning stages for about six years.

But it has received more headlines since an October 2002 hearing on three design alternatives, with nearby businesses voicing concerns about displacement of, and disruption of access to, their stores. The current design was chosen to disrupt fewer businesses.

Still, the work will involve the demolition of several buildings, including several businesses and Fire Station No. 4.

Construction of a new station on nearby Wood Avenue is expected to take six months. Until then, the station’s trucks and firefighters will be located at the Central Fire Station on Main Street.

Because a grand opening will be held in May for the nearby Natchez Trace Extension, MDOT wants to speed the Liberty Road interchange project as much as possible, to better handle increased traffic.