I-55 lighting decision welcome news for area

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 2, 2007

It appears that Mississippi Department of Transportationofficials have decided to let the lights shine along Interstate 55at the Brookway Boulevard exit.

Following repeated requests by local leaders and years of dimprognoses of the lighting’s chances by MDOT officials, last week’sannouncement that the lighting project is under way and should becompleted within 12 months is a welcome about-face and good newsfor this area. It is icing on the proverbial cake that lighting forthe north Brookhaven exit, where some new development has takenplace recently, could also be done within three years.

According to District 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and SouthernDistrict Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown, the lightingproject emerged from darkness after they met with MDOT ExecutiveDirector Butch Brown and he was able to shuffle some funding amongdistricts to enable the project to proceed. Some maintenance andelectricity costs obligations must be agreed to by localauthorities, but we don’t see that as a major hurdle toovercome.

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Hyde-Smith said the road to lighting project reality was a rockyone, but also a fine example of everyone working together to getgood things accomplished.

Indeed, the lighting project is one of the finest examples ofthe city, county and chamber of commerce leaders presenting aunited front on an issue of vital importance to the community. Withthe added influence from the state senator, MDOT officials surelyrecognized this and agreed to move the lighting project higher onthe priority list. We thank everyone for their efforts andattention.

Officials may have traveled a rocky road to get the lights.However, their installation will mean a well-lit and much saferinterstate for motorists traveling through Brookhaven and LincolnCounty.