Hwy. 49, Hardy St. part of beautification project

By HASKEL BURNS,

Two stretches of U.S. 49 and Hardy Street are set to undergo beautification projects with the help of officials from the Forrest County Board of Supervisors and the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The first project will stretch down U.S. 49 from Lake Terrace Convention Center to Camp Street near Forrest General Hospital. The project, which is expected to cost about $450,000, is being handled by Hattiesburg engineering firm Neel-Schaffer and will include landscaping, conduit and lighting.

Forrest County District 5 Supervisor Chris Bowen said before beginning work, officials will keep an eye on the upcoming road project near Forrest General Hospital. That project is expected to close the portion of Mamie Street that runs between U.S. 49 and Arlington Loop, along with the intersection of Mamie Street and U.S. 49, with two new roads taking the place of that stretch.

“(We have) to see what that’s going to do,” Bowen said. “We’re going to have to somehow factor that in. It’s going to be in early 2019, we hope.”

The second beautification project will be similar to the first, and will stretch west from the intersection of U.S 49 to 38th Avenue. Officials are still waiting on final cost for the project, but work is expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

“We’re limited by the department of transportation’s criteria, as to what we can and cannot do (for the projects),” Bowen said.

About 80 percent of the funds for the projects will come from MDOT, with local sponsors handling the rest of the cost.

“The funding hasn’t been finalized yet, but plans are in the works,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors.” “With (The District at Midown) taking traction, we expect future expansion in midtown.

“The board’s excited to be a part of those projects, and is exited about the future that entire area is going to bring.”

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