Agreement between Mississippi Department of Transportation, Lafayette County for traffic signal OK’d

Published 11:06 am Friday, August 18, 2017

Once construction of Sisk Avenue Extended is complete, a new traffic light will be placed where it will eventually meet with Highway 6, adjoining County Road 406.

County Engineer Larry Britt told the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors on Thursday that the Mississippi Department of Transportation has approved most of the county’s road construction plans for Sisk Extended.

“They pretty much agreed that they will probably give us a permit to build out Sisk and gave their blessings to build the new traffic signal,” Britt said.

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MDOT wants the new light to be active as soon as Sisk opens to Highway 6.

The supervisors voted on a resolution Thursday during a specially called meeting, agreeing to work with MDOT and build the traffic signal; however, Britt said MDOT will “most likely” want the county to take over maintenance of the new signal.

“They will be soon be asking for a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and MDOT,” Britt said. “I’ve read a draft and there was nothing in there the county couldn’t live with in my opinion.”

The MOU will be provided to County Attorney David O’Donnell for his review before being voted on by the supervisors.

Board president suggested bringing leaders from the city of Oxford into the MOU discussion since it’s likely the city will be eventually annexing the area.

Supervisor Chad McLarty questioned Britt as to why MDOT couldn’t maintain the signal.

“They’re already set up for that,” he said Thursday.

Britt and O’Donnell suggested MDOT doesn’t want the cost of maintaining the lights; however, Britt said he would talk to MDOT to see if they would consider being hired by the county to maintain the signal that will be activated by radar since neither the county nor the city has staff members who have the necessary training to maintain the signals if something serious were to go wrong with it.

“We have guys who know how to do basic work on signals,” Britt said. “But if it takes a major hit by lightning, that’s more than what they know how to do.”

Britt also told the board on Thursday that he is considering applying for a grant under the Infrastructure to Rebuild America federal program for the second phase of extending West Oxford Loop.

The first phase is already in motion and will extend West Oxford Loop out to meet Old Sardis Road near FNC Park. The second phase would extend the road to the old Highway 7 North near the Max D. Hipp Lafayette County Industrial Park.