Meridian Star

March 6, 2013

Newell seeks funding for road project

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     If one county official gets his way, there will be an additional stretch of road coming out of Central Industrial Park.

    Wayman Newell, District 2 Supervisor for Lauderdale County, announced plans earlier this year to seek $2.8 million to build an outlet at the industrial park to ease traffic flow around Hawkins Crossing.

    During a tour of the area on Monday, Newell said Sellers Road has approximately 700 trucks go through it every day. That's about 350 in and 350 out.

    The increased traffic flow began after Dunn Roadbuilders and APAC located there, Newell said. There are 10 other businesses in the park as well.

    "With these 700 trucks, most of them go to that intersection where 27,000 vehicles either go over it, under it or around it," Newell said.

    Sellers Road has to be repaved every couple of years because of the heavy traffic, he said.

    The entrance to the park comes off of Hawkins Crossing at Sellers and 23rd Street.

    "When you come to Hawkins Crossing, it's not enough room for one 18-wheeler to get to the stop sign and stop without the back of the truck sitting on the railroad track," Newell said.

    Under Newell's proposal, a little more than half a mile of road would be constructed on the east end of the park and connect with Jimmie Rodgers Parkway.

    The road would go to the railroad and run parallel with it; then cross the railroad track to tie in with Jimmie Rodgers Parkway at the intersection of highways 11 and 80. A new crossing would have to be constructed as well.

    This would give drivers more options and keep them out of a lot of the traffic that passes through on the other end.

    The trucks could turn and go east on Highway 80, or they could hit Jimmie Rodgers Parkway and connect to highways, 45, 19, 59 or 20, he said.

    "That would give them so much more versatility rather than going back down here to this intersection where there are 27,000 cars coming through here every day," Newell said.

    On a recent trip to Washington D.C., Newell met with Congressional leaders to try to get funding for the project.