The precarious five-way intersection near the United States Post Office on Mississippi 589 in Sumrall will soon be a thing of the past, as work is currently being conducted to realign Center Lane to eliminate that crossing.
Work began Monday on the project, which will move Center Lane just north of its current location to form a four-way intersection with City Hall Avenue and Main Street. Currently, City Hall Avenue, Main Street, Center Lane, Railroad Avenue and the Longleaf Trace all intersect near the United States Post Office, making for unsafe driving conditions at that site.
“That gives us five roads coming together right there, and it’s frustrating and dangerous,” Mayor Heath Sumrall said. “People get here and they don’t know whose turn it is (to go) sometimes.
“We’ve had a lot of wrecks here at this intersection that the fire department and police have had to respond to. It’s just a bad idea, especially with the volume of traffic that we’ve got now. Twenty years ago, it wasn’t a problem, but now this traffic is something.”
In addition to realigning the road, current plans are to add nine side-shoulder parking spaces along Center Lane. If a small parcel of land near the intersection can be acquired by the city, that number will move up to 11.
“I think (that parcel of land) is right at 3,000 square feet – it’s a little triangle,” Sumrall said. “And we need parking downtown; we don’t have any parking, so we just started trying to negotiate again (with the landowner).
“And hopefully in the future, we may be able to put a sidewalk on the other side of it, and we want to put some decorative lighting up with the street lighting.”
Most of the work is being conducted by the city’s public works department, rather than outside contractors, which is expected to save a sizable amount of taxpayer funds. Lamar County officials are helping with the endeavor by providing some of the heavy equipment for the project.
Sumrall is currently working out a timeline and exact cost for the work.
“We’ve run into some snags,” he said. “We had to re-order some pipe, and they ran into a big piece of cement a while ago, and we had to move the culverts.
“But I’ve got an assistant working (on a timeline) for it.”