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Roundabout project at Highway 7-9 split delayed until November

After announcing a new roundabout at the intersection of Highways 7 and 9 would begin sometime last year, the Mississippi Department of Transportation will finally open bidding this fall.

According to Jace Ponder, MDOT’s public information officer, bids will begin to go out in November.

The project was first announced, with public meetings held, in February 2019. People who attended the meeting were informed the project would have bids sent out in April of last year, with the project beginning later in the year.

Following those meetings, the project never took place. Ponder told the EAGLE that after receiving feedback from community members and area businesses, MDOT decided to hold off on the $2.8 million project. The project was awarded $1 million from an appropriations bill by the state last year, but was still lacking around $1.8 million before the project could begin, as of last February.

During public meetings last February, there were mixed reactions from community members. After the announcement of a meeting set to take place, there was much pushback and criticism. There were also some who attended the meeting who viewed the roundabout as positive addition to the intersection.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Jerry Lee, of Oxford, said at last February’s public meeting. “I think it will probably handle the traffic a little bit better. The highway department should know a lot more about it than I do and they must think it’s a safety thing. Overall, I’m yielding to what the department of transportation says.”

One business near the split was concerned about not having enough stretch of road for its trucks to accelerate at a fast enough speed while merging into traffic, according to Ponder.

With bids going out in November, it is not known if the project will begin before the end of 2020 or take place in 2021.