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Area officials seeking input from citizens for future transportation projects

The Lafayette County, Oxford and University of Mississippi communities have experienced a dramatic change over the past 20 years as population increases across the county. Now, local officials are asking members of the LOU community to help guide local transportation projects for the next 20 years.

The city, county and university are equal partners in funding and in the participation of a new LOU Transportation Master Plan that will identify the existing challenges with the area’s transportation network, develop short and long-term strategies aimed at addressing these challenges and prioritize them. Each entity is paying about $83,000 for the plan.

An open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Oxford Conference Center, where residents can talk with consultants and local officials, providing their experiences as drivers, riders, cyclists and pedestrians in the region.

The public meeting will be an open format with maps around the room and staff asking questions related to people’s experience using the LOU transportation network.

“Thursday is just a beginning step in the process to receive valuable feedback from residents that will help inform the transportation master plan,” said Oxford Assistant Planner Ben Requet.

Waggoner Engineering that has been hired by the city, county and university as the consultant firm to help develop the master plan and will use the input provided by citizens from Thursday’s open house, as well as an online survey and future public meetings to create the plan.

Once complete, the engineering firm will present a draft of the master plan to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, the Oxford Board of Aldermen, Oxford mayor Robyn Tannehill and university administration in the fall.

According to Requet, the LOU Transportation Master Plan is guided by the Policy and Technical Committees that are both comprised of city, county and university officials. The Policy Committee, while working with the consultants, will make decisions based on the recommendations of the Technical Committee.

The transportation project does not just mean new roads, Requet said.

“While a road is a type of transportation project, it can consist of much more,” Requet said. “For example, a transportation project can consist of the construction of new roads and bridges, the installation of a roundabout, the development of new transit facilities or routes, the installation of new bike-share hubs or the construction of new sidewalks.”

Those who cannot attend the open house can fill out a short online survey that is available on the city of Oxford’s website through April at www.oxfordms.net.

For more information, call Requet at 662-232-2305 or via email at bjrequet@oxfordms.net.