Mayor’s Report – Getwell South Widening Project
It’s a “Woo Hoo” and “Oh Crap” moment all at the same time! Any kind of road construction is a pain in the tail, but this project will mitigate the worst traffic congestion problem in our city involving a city-maintained street/road. We have been trying to solve this very expensive problem since 2015 when we made application for federal transportation funds through the Metropolitan Planning Organization Agency.
Why did it take so long?
We jumped many hurdles along the way as metropolitan jurisdictions must share limited funding for this program. When it was finally “our turn”, we complied with MDOT processes as they are charged with managing federal transportation funds. Then, you start the right-of-way purchase for the land needed to widen the road which takes on a life of its own with family trusts, absentee owners, and interesting personalities.
The financial magnitude of this project…
The last piece of bad news is what we’re all tired of hearing about…inflation! This project was original projected to cost $10,545,740. The federal fund allocation is $7,887,061. The lowest bid and actual cost of this project is $14,060,127! Since the Star Landing intersection improvements were included in a previous Desoto County MPO project that extended from Star Landing to Pleasant Hill Rd, the City could not include this in our project per MPO rules. Desoto County is assisting with this intersection signal and widening which costs $875,000, leaving the City with the remainder of the project cost totaling $5,298,066.
Enough about the labor pains, let me show you what this baby will look like!
This project will widen Getwell Rd south of Church Rd to Star Landing Rd from two lanes to five lanes, including a median for improved safety and new signals at College Rd and Star Landing Rd, as previously noted. The west side of the road will also be prepped for a future multi-use pedestrian trail as future funding becomes available. This project will eliminate the current “bottleneck” at Church Rd.
Before you ask…
As I mentioned above, improving transportation grids in a city growing like Southaven takes detailed planning. Many future projects are already planned, just pending funding. Specifically, Getwell will need to be widened further to I-269 as the opening of this interstate system has already dramatically changed daily traffic counts. Southaven and Desoto County have had many discussions about this and will continue to pursue a complete solution on the busiest north/south arterial road in our county, excluding federal and state routes.
Construction of this long-awaited project officially begins on March 1 with an estimated two-year timeframe for completion.