Oxford, Lafayette County and University of Mississippi to go in on joint Transportation Study

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

While the city of Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi each continue to grow in population, that means more cars on the roads, which has created a need for the leaders of the LOU community to plan how to move citizens around in the most efficient manner.

Talks of a joint Transportation Study started last spring between the city, county and university and the Oxford Board of Aldermen budgeted $250,000 for the 2018 fiscal year to pay to formulate a comprehensive traffic plan encompassing all of Lafayette County.

Earlier this fall, the city entered into a contract with Waggoner Engineering to move forward with the study, according to City Engineer Bart Robinson.

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“The contract includes two parts,” Robinson said. “Part one is the actual Transportation Plan, which includes assessment, plan development and network modeling. Part two is Program Development, where we will prioritize and set implementation strategies.

The Board of Aldermen approved earlier this month an Interlocal Agreement between the city, county and university for each entity to pay $83,333 for the study. The agreement is now being reviewed by university officials and the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.

“Obviously, we are wanting financial support from our sister participants,” Robinson said. “However, more importantly, we need input from Lafayette County and university on future plans, growth and future visions to ensure we obtain a plan that is beneficial and achievable.”

Board of Supervisor President Jeff Busby said the county, university and city verbally agreed in concept to participating in the study in the summer but are now just waiting for their respective attorneys to review the written agreements. Busby said he expects the agreement to come before the Board for approval in the next couple of meetings.

“We all agreed to put in a third of the costs,” he said Tuesday. “We just haven’t signed the interlocal agreement yet.”

Busby said the plan will help guide city, county and university leaders to where new roads need to be built.

“It will help us put the puzzle together,” Busby said. “We all have ideas of where we think the best places for new roads would be, but sometimes numbers and ideas don’t always add up. We’re hoping those with the expertise can steer us in the right direction.”

Busby said the plan will focus largely on new roads but will also look at alternative transportation, like bus systems.

“It will be an overall look at transportation,” he said.