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Construction continues on South Lamar roundabout

The new roundabout on South Lamar Boulevard is still under construction, and will likely be that way for the rest of the summer.

According to assistant city engineer Reanna Mayoral, the current phase of construction will be completed in approximately six weeks. Work began on the roundabout in March, and it is currently about halfway done, with traffic able to travel down one side. The new phase will include the completion of the other half of the roundabout.

“The majority of the work was planned for the summer to reduce the impact to the traveling public,” Mayoral said. “The current phase is not convenient for some directions of travel, but the inconvenience will be short-term.”

The completion of the roundabout will reduce delay in the area and provide easier access to Belk Boulevard and the new hospital, she added. It will also eliminate the need for the flashing signal and three-way stop that connects the original Belk Boulevard to South Lamar Boulevard.

The end portion of Belk Boulevard east of South Lamar Boulevard will be realigned to meet with the Belk Boulevard extension, where the new Baptist Hospital-North Mississippi is located. Because of the changing traffic patterns, Mayoral said the city is making every effort to encourage drivers to take caution or take a detour around the area during construction.

“We would like the citizens to continue to be alert, patient, and courteous as they drive through the area. South Lamar is a medical corridor and many users traveling from other counties will not be familiar with the roads or the construction,” she said. “The citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County have embraced roundabouts and recognize the improved efficiency compared to a multi-way stop or traffic signal.”

Some benefits of the roundabout over a traditional multi-way stop, she said, are maintenance costs and decreased travel time along one of Oxford’s busiest corridors.

The roundabout is funded Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, as it is the last phase of construction for the new facility. Originally announced as a 210-day contract during a pre-construction conference held Feb. 28. The contract date ends on Oct. 15.

“I believe traffic will be going around the roundabout by the first of September,” public works director Bart Robinson said to the EAGLE when construction began.

In an effort to keep the public informed about changing traffic patterns and increased travel times due to slower traffic moving through the site, Mayoral said the city has provided notices on its website and social media platforms. Feedback from the public, she said, has helped them spread the word.

“We have received calls from the public that have led to some changes in the signage being used,” Mayoral said. “We are very thankful to have an engaged group of citizens that care enough to reach out when they see a problem and have an idea on how to solve it.”