Money for Co-Lin access road lost

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 4, 2005

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College officials are againpursuing an access road from the interstate, although previouslyapproved funding for the project has been withdrawn following adispute over the proposed route.

At Thursday’s board of trustees meeting, Co-Lin President Dr.Howell Garner said $2 million in federal funding for the road hadbeen returned after Lincoln and Copiah counties were unable toagree on a route. Garner said he had spoken with statetransportation officials about restoring the funds, but thepossibility of that is “on hold” until they can get moreinformation.

“The likelihood of the money being restored is not great,”Garner said.

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It has been more than three years since a December 2001 meetingwhere the project was discussed with officials from both countiesand potentially-affected landowners. The proposed route would haveupgraded Mount Zion Road and built a new connector road to Highway51 at the new overpass intersection at the college.

“The project would improve Mount Zion,” Garner said. “It is inhorrible shape.”

However, Garner said Wesson merchants were opposed to theproposed route because they feared they would lose business.

Some landowners were also concerned about land they would haveto give up for the road to be built. The road would need 100 feetof right of way, up from the current 30 feet.

Garner said a new route would take the access road into Wesson,thus addressing merchant concerns.

Earlier this week, Garner met with landowners. He said theysounded agreeable to the access road under the alternate route.

“This is not a Co-Lin road,” said Garner, however emphasizingthat any project that would help Wesson would also benefit thecollege.

Garner said he agreed to contact transportation officials in aneffort to get the money reinstated.

“It’s dead unless Co-Lin gets involved,” Garner said.

While chances of getting the money back appeared slim, Garnerwas hopeful something could be done in the future.

“Down the road, we may pave the way to get the money at a latertime,” Garner said.