STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)—Starkville drivers are about to see big changes on Highway 12.
Construction could start in a matter weeks on the project that will bring medians to the busy highway.
Transportation officials say Starkville’s Highway 12 has too many crashes.
” The highway 12 route in Starkville represents the highest accident rate per capita of any state road north of the Jackson metro area. After we were seeing an increasing number of accidents over the years we went back and did what we refer to as a safety audit which looks at the nature of those accidents. And in the course of 5 years we found that 16 hundred and 64 were crashes on this very short portion of highway 12,”said Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert.
A two to three year project will be broken up into phases and medians will be placed along the road. State and federal dollars are paying for the paving.
Back Stage Music owner Allen McBroom says this project could put the breaks on his steady business.
” The big thing is we don’t know it’s going to impact the ability of our customers to get into our business as I understand it there will be no left turns on highway 12 in the business area. That’s several miles of no left turns. so this is going to make it much more difficult for half of my customers to get in,”said McBroom.
Tagert says the improvements go beyond adding a median.
“We’re improving the traffic signal upgrades throughout the corridor which is going to help us tremendously with congestion problems as well. We’re correcting some site specific turning radius movement that have needed some attention for some time now,”said Tagert
McBroom says he’s worried about his customers’ safety, once construction is done.
“Are there accidents on 12 sure there not at 60 miles an hour these are low speed impacts driving in the center lane or they are mostly bumper benders. We’re talking about small insurance claims will those go away, those particular ones will go away but what about all these people trying to make a left turn at the light down here. Are we swapping one thing for another I don’t know,”said McBroom.
Mayor Parker Wiseman supports the traffic changes.
” It’s a very exciting project for us this is a substantial investment that MDOT is making in our community and it’s an improvement that our citizens will notice long term we hope the business impact will be quite positive in freshening the appearance of the entire corridor in the long run that should be good for business,”said Wiseman.
Tagert did not have specific date on when construction will begin but it should be in the next few weeks.