North Hills solution on the way

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Dec. 21, 2000
Traffic jams at the intersection of North Hills Street and Highway 39 could be solved within a year with funding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mayor John Robert Smith said Wednesday.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting, North Hills resident Bill Phillips presented the mayor and city council with a petition asking for relief on the east end of the busy street.
Mayor Smith said city leaders are aware of the problem, and have been working to streamline the traffic in the area.
Phillips was requesting the addition of a third lane to make it easier for residents who live on streets that feed into North Hills Street to enter and exit, but city leaders said extending the turn lane at Highway 39 North will relieve the bottleneck.
Smith said city officials have already approached the MDOT to amend its Service Transportation Plan and address the North Hills Street and Highway 39 intersection. The plan allows cities to designate areas inside their own city limits that need to be addressed first with allocated state road construction funds.
Smith said the MDOT response about amending the plan was reassuring.
The request calls for the turn lane to be extended out from Highway 39 all the way to Sixth Place on North Hills Street.
City Engineer Monty Jackson said it will take between nine months and a year to complete the work. The city has to push the proposal through MDOT, engineer the road, bid out the project and have the construction work done.
Mayor Smith said he sympathizes with local residents, but added that although the situation is frustrating the traffic is a positive sign of growth for the city.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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