A new turn lane going into Oak Grove Middle School from Old Hwy. 11 is expected to alleviate traffic buildup in the area after the Lamar County Board of Supervisors approved the low bid of a Laurel construction company at its recent Monday meeting.
The project, which will force some inconveniences during the construction phase, will take 3-4 months to complete.
The supervisors OK’d the bid of R&J Construction for $800,108.80 for the State Aid project, County Administrator Joseph “Jody” Waits said. The board met at the William J. “Pete” Gamble III Chancery Courthouse in Purvis.
Waits said the project will begin as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, the way things go we are having school start as we try to do this project,” he said. “However, they will do a lot of work on the weekends that would shut down the road. They are going to try to work around the school traffic. It should begin in the next few weeks.”
Waits said the bids came in higher than expected.
“We are fortunate that those funds are coming from State Aid Road funds,” he said. “We are able to capitalize on the legislation that will allow us to access some emergency funds.”
Included in the construction are widening Old Hwy. 11 and improving it from Old Hwy. 24 to Richburg Road. The shoulders will be improved and asphalt will be added.
“It will actually improve the traffic flow and sightlines,” Waits said. “Traffic backs up quite a bit (At Oak Grove Middle School) with school traffic. There, there will be lanes added and the entire area will be overlaid with new asphalt.”
Waits said the road improvements extends work from an earlier project.
“That is kind of a continuation of the widening of Old Hwy. 11 that’s coming from the city limits up to that point at Old Hwy. 24,” he said. “So, we found additional funds to improve that road on up to Richburg Road.”
A new traffic light at the corner of Richburg Road and Old Hwy. 11 was completed earlier this year.