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Transportation hub nears completion

The Brookhaven Multi-Modal Facility has been creeping towardfruition for years, so the fact that it has encountered a few moreholdups is almost not surprising.

The transportation hub is now established where the old powerplant long lay dormant, under the smokestack on Railroad Avenue. Itis now the culmination of a project the city has worked toward foralmost 10 years. The inside is finished, but there are still someexterior pieces to be completed.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said there have been two new obstacles thathave to be overcome before the transportation hub can be fullyfunctional, and things are in the works to get both of thosechanges where they need to be.

The first change order is that the current boarding area, whichstretches about 80 feet, must be extended to 400 feet, Bumgarnersaid.

“That was a miscommunication between AMTRAK and (the MississippiDepartment of Transportation),” he said.

The question then arises of where the money to add 320 extrafeet of boarding will come from. Bumgarner said that is a problemthat’s currently being worked on.

“AMTRAK and MDOT are trying to work out the financesthemselves,” he said. “So far we’re not involved in that. They’reworking out the financial arrangements.”

In addition to the dock length issue, Bumgarner said anotherchange order had to be made that would increase the availableparking for buses.

“We’ve got to make parking available for buses and wideneverything out so we can have one lane in and one lane out, so itmakes kind of a loop,” Bumgarner said. “It involves some paving andsome dirt work.”

At this point there are no bus contracts in the works, the mayorsaid, but there are some bus lines available that could make runsto the Multi-Modal facility.

“The thing is we just wanted parking available for the buses,”he said.

Officials are keeping their fingers crossed that the projectcould be finished by the end of the summer, Bumgarner said.Sometimes the red tape just draws things out.

“When you deal with MDOT and AMTRAK and Canadian National, plusWashington, D.C., it can be a challenge,” he said. “But we’relooking forward to cutting the ribbon.”