MDOT gives update on Highway 12 corridor project

MDOT Commissioner Mike Tagert (courtesy)

Drivers along the Highway 12 corridor running through Starkville have seen slower drive times as the Mississippi Department of Transportation moves forward with a sweeping safety project aimed at revamping one of the busiest travel arteries in the area.

Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert said Wednesday the public will begin to see the major portion of what this upgrade project is intended to do.

MDOT says it expects phase one of the project to be complete in late summer 2017, while bids for phase two will be taken in November.

Construction on the second phase is scheduled for early 2018.

This week saw MDOT crews begin removing asphalt from the center turn lane in preparation for the new safety curb and median. Workers cut the asphalt first, which will allow for quicker and safer removal.

Asphalt removal will begin at New Light Road and crews will work east down Highway 12.

MDOT will also continue work on the new curb and gutter and concrete island at the Stark Road/Airport Road intersection in front of Wing Stop.

“After conducting a safety audit, we found that in the course of five years there were 1,664 crashes on this short portion of Highway 12,” Tagert said. “This represents the highest crash rate per capita of any state road north of the Jackson-Metro area.”
Work on phase one of the project began on Feb. 27 and extends from one-quarter mile west of New Light Road to Eckford Drive.

This project will also upgrade existing traffic signals with new state-of-the-art technology. Each new signal will be controlled by radar detection and will be connected to other traffic signals with fiber optic cable.

MDOT says the fiber optic cable will allow the traffic signals to communicate with one another, which could help reduce congestion and increase traffic flow.