Hwy. 84 four-lane project rolls along

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A project to four-lane Highway 84 from the Lincoln-Lawrencecounty line to Monticello is nearly complete, but officials did notsay when the new highway will open for traffic.

Paving began in May on the project that would connect Brookhavenand Monticello by a four-lane highway, but Mississippi Departmentof Transportation officials have not set a firm date for itscompletion.

Ken Morris, a district construction engineer with theMississippi Department of Transportation, said he expected theproject to be completed by the end of summer, however.

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Completion of the paving will extend Highway 84 as a four-lanecorridor from Natchez to an area east of Monticello.

Work is still progressing to extend the four-lane highway fromMonticello to Prentiss. Morris said the contracts to beginconstruction on Highway 84 four-laning projects from theLawrence-Jefferson Davis county line to Prentiss and a portion toconnect Prentiss and Collins were awarded recently.

Some work has already begun on the project linking Monticelloand Prentiss, he said.

“We just let the contract for it. They’re doing some clearingright now,” Morris said.

The overall Highway 84 project is part of the 1987 Four-LaneProgram, a legislative act to four-lane or improve more than 1,800miles of Mississippi roads. Under the 1987 plan, the entire stretchof Highway 84 is receiving a complete upgrade to serve as a majoreast/west corridor from the Alabama state line to Natchez.

In a related matter, Monticello aldermen will hold a publichearing tonight at 6 o’clock at City Hall to present their plan todevelop a boulevard to link the new Highway 84 Bypass to downtown,add east and west frontage roads for town growth and developmentand improve the intersection at Old Highway 27 and Highway 184.

The public hearing is part of the process of advancing the localproject, said Monticello City Clerk Debbie Lea. Environmentalstudies have been completed and the town is ready to beginengineering studies, which will finalize the path of the boulevardand determine other specific needs.

Mayor David Nichols has estimated the total cost of theboulevard and frontage road project at approximately $2.5 million,which guarantees a bond issue will be necessary to fund it.

Alderman believe the boulevard and frontage roads will help thetown develop economically to compensate for the loss of trafficthrough downtown because of the bypass, which was completed lastyear.