By NATHAN GREGORY
Motorists frequenting Blackjack Road over the next two months will see workers making improvements to the stretch from Locksley Way to the roundabout.
The process to resurface the road began May 29 and will continue through the end of July.
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station engineer David Howell said Falcon Contracting, Inc. is in charge of the resurfacing and Neel Schaffer, Inc. engineered the project.
“The reason we’re doing the resurfacing is for the safety of the students, improved infrastructure and to keep the road from deteriorating,” Howell said.
Funding for the project, which is estimated at just over $1 million, came from Mississippi State University and Federal Highway Administration money through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. MSU is providing $600,000 in earmarks. A State Transportation Improvement Program grant covers 80 percent of the remaining funding, with MSU providing a 20 percent match.
Oktibbeha County Administrator Don Posey said because the road serves as the south entrance to campus, it is heavily traveled, and infrastructure improvements are necessary.
“The (MSU College of Veterinary Medicine) is there, (and because) you have new apartment complexes in that area you probably have 3- or 4,000 students that come through there every day,” Posey said. “(The county was) very fortunate to get it going and get it under wraps. Hopefully it will get finished before school starts back.”
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said while the resurfacing will make driving on that road easier for MSU students and faculty, county residents also benefit greatly.
“I can say it’s an extremely important project. We definitely see the need and we’re glad (MSU) is going in to address it. It allows the county to do other things with the resources we have,” Trainer said. “We’re just excited they put that on their radar screen to get it done.”