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Hwy 82 Bypass Resurfacing Work Causing Delays

Some Motorists Are Losing Patience

Ron Williams

As work began on the resurfacing of the four-lane Hwy 82 Bypass a couple of weeks ago, motorists who regularly travel the bypass between Columbus and the Hwy 45 South Macon/Meridian exit have found themselves in delays…and some are losing their patience.
Wednesday, I spoke with Skip Benson, North Mississippi Department of Transportation Assistant Construction Engineer of the 82 paving project. He said that work on the project is on schedule.
Benson said, “We’ll be resurfacing 5.5 miles from just west of the Hwy 45 South interchange (Macon/Meridian Exit) to 6th Street in Columbus.” Benson said that the project is being done one lane at a time to allow the flow of traffic. One lane has been resurfaced west to east and construction is currently progressing east to westbound. Once that lane is completed, the process will be repeated on the other lane. After both lanes are complete, striping and other work will have to be done. But, once the paving is completed, construction delays will ease for the striping, etc.
The resurfacing totals 5.5 miles in one direction. Many motorists have asked why the resurfacing work couldn’t be done at night to ease delays. I asked Benson this question. “We are taking up two iinches of asphalt and laying the same amount down,” he told me. “We must use water, and that water has to dry. It can’t dry at night,” he added.
Benson also said that requests can be made for the work to be done at night, but no such request was made for this project. Several motorists have commented on Facebook that delays between downtown Columbus and the commute to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport exit (where thousands of workers at Severstal, Aurora, Eurocopter and students at EMCC are located. RW) are experiencing long delays.
Benson said the 82 paving project, which will include work on the Hwy 45 interchange at the Macon/Meridian exit, is scheduled to be completed by June 29.

In a related matter, Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge says that off-duty deputies could be used for hire by the MDOT in the near future in the Hwy 45 South four-lane project that has been on-going, but has intensified with spring weather arriving. An already-strained deputy staff at the sheriff’s department couldn’t be able to assist during their normal shifts of patrolling. With a county as big as Lowndes to patrol, the shift deputies must carry out their normal patrolling because manpower is thin. But off-duty deputies are available for hire and have been used for such projects in the past.

Leroy Brooks For Mayor?
A few weeks ago when I mentioned several names that have been tossed around as possible mayoral candidates in the (sooner than you think) Columbus city elections coming up next spring, I failed to mention District 5 Lowndes County Supervisor Leroy Brooks. Though Brooks’ name pops up nearly everytime a mayoral election comes around in Columbus, this time he might actually run. Though he hasn’t confirmed it, Brooks could easily end up on the ballot.
If Brooks’ runs, it’ll be a whole new ballgame in Columbus political circles. It could be very interesting.

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