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Highway 7 project stall is frustrating

Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby spoke the so-called whole truth and nothing but the truth recently when addressing the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s once-planned widening of Highway 7 in Oxford.

“It needs to be done and soon,” Busby said.

He’s absolutely right. But, that’s not what’s happening since MDOT shelved the project, which would have four-laned Highway 7 from Belk Boulevard to the Highway 7/9 split.

It’s not happening because MDOT says it doesn’t have any money for the project, calculated in 2012 to cost about $40 million.

Meanwhile, Oxford and Lafayette County residents see new projects elsewhere in the state – Starkville, for instance – making us feel like the forgotten stepchild, facing rapid growth and roadways that aren’t keeping up.

“I’ve seen some of the other projects MDOT is doing around the state and those roads are nowhere near as dangerous as that stretch of Highway 7,” Bubsy said.

It’s not from a lack of local effort. Our leaders in Oxford (Mayor Robyn Tannehill) and Lafayette County (Busby and others) have let MDOT know that our needs here are pressing.

Still, MDOT can’t seem to find the money it needs to get our dangerous roads like Highway 7 widened for greater safety. It’s frustrating, to say the least.