In late 2017, officials from the City of Hattiesburg began proposals for a roundabout on Hardy Street near the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County to alleviate the traffic caused by the intersections of 2ndAvenue, Green Street and Adeline Street at Hardy.
The next step in that process is now complete, as Hattiesburg City Council members recently accepted a bid from Warren Paving for the total contract amount of $1.85 million for the project. The roundabout is expected to be approximately 100 feet in diameter.
“It’s a really weird intersection; you’ve got about five roads coming in right there,” City Engineer Lamar Rutland said. “So we’re just looking to redesign that and make it a little safer and easier for people to access.
“With a roundabout, you’re not affected by power outages, so with hurricanes and all that, roundabouts are still able to be used. More traffic can flow through them, and while it will take us in Mississippi a little while to get used to it, most other places use because it’s a safer mode than a typical traffic signal.”
Once the bid is awarded, which is subject to the concurrence of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, completion of the project is expected to take approximately a year.
“It’ll probably be a couple of months for the contractor to get started, and then a year of construction,” Rutland said. “(As far as traffic during construction), our design shows where that intersection will always be accessible in various forms and fashions. So it really shouldn’t ever be completely shut down.”
In addition to the bid by Warren Paving, the city also received a bid from Phillips Contracting in the amount of $2.44 million. Warren Paving was deemed the lowest responsive bidder, at 1.13 percent above the engineer’s estimate for the total bid.
Roundabouts consist of a circular intersection or junction in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island, and priority is typically given to traffic already in the junction. Compared to stop signs, traffic signals and earlier forms of roundabouts, modern roundabouts are considered to reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions by reducing traffic speeds.
Traffic exiting the roundabout comes from one direction, rather than multiple directions, which simplifies the visual environment. Roundabouts also allow U-turns within the normal flow of traffic.
Back in 2019, the City of Hattiesburg and Lamar County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a two-lane roundabout ease traffic at the heavily-travelled intersection of Oak Grove and Weathersby roads.
The memorandum states the city will contribute no more than $301,000 to the county for the project. That amount is based on three studies that researched the cost of property acquisition, appraisals, surveys, damages, closing costs and other issues related to road work.
Officials expect the total cost of the project to be in the neighborhood of $750,000. Of Lamar County’s share of the cost, the Metropolitan Planning Organization will cover 80 percent with the county matching the remaining 20 percent.