Rest Area Renovations

Published 6:59 pm Monday, April 19, 2010

A beautification project at two rest stops on Interstate 55between Hazlehurst and Wesson looks to be on track to finish up onschedule, Mississippi Department of Transportation officialssaid.

The rest areas were closed in early January, but should be openfor business again in late August, said MDOT Resident Engineer BradCupit.

“In the back and the front entrance they’re making plazas, andthey will have seating areas,” Cupit said. “We will have flowersand flagpoles in the front, with lights on them; it’ll be a littlemore lighted.”

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Cupit said there will be lights along the interstate as well,set off the interstate so they won’t be damaged by truckers whopark too closely. Some of the previous lighting had been knockeddown in the past when truckers misjudged the distance between theirrigs and the lights.

And the rest stops should be a little user friendly, Cupitsaid.

“It’ll be a little more inviting because of seating areas we’readding in the entrance on the front of the car parking and truckparking areas,” he said. “The parking area for the truck parking infront of both centers will be enlarged, the sidewalks will havehandicapped access, and we’re working on the flowerbeds andirrigation system.”

The estimate on the project was around $1.3 million, funded in alarge part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Cupitsaid.

So far, the project should be finished on time for the August 31deadline, though it was touch-and-go for a minute, Cupit said.

“The weather has backed us up but I think we’ll be able to getit finished,” he said. “We’ve had some good weather in the pastmonth or so, but we did have some problems there for a while, likeeveryone did.”

The project should make the rest areas more pleasant, certainly,but Cupit said crews had a good area to work to begin with.

“All the trees are big and pretty and there’s a lot of shade,and they’re very quiet and peaceful,” he said of the two restareas. “It’s pretty out there.”