Hwy. 49 beautification project gets green light


The Forrest County Board of Supervisors recently gave the green light to a beautification project for U.S. 49, in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

During Monday’s board meeting, supervisors acknowledged a Memorandum of Understanding between MDOT and the board, as well as status reports related to the project. The beautification, which is headed up by Hattiesburg firm Neel-Schaffer, will stretch down U.S. 49 from Lake Terrace Convention Center to Camp Street near Forrest General Hospital and will include landscaping, conduit and lighting along the highway.

Construction is expected to run from approximately January to April at a cost of about $400,000.

“The beautification project is moving forward, and it’s going to make it a lot more aesthetically pleasing as people come through Hattiesburg on Highway 49,” board president David Hogan said. “It’ll be trees and bedding, Bradford Pears and some shrubbery. Mostly ornamental-type trees.”

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.

Supervisors also are working through plans for a second beautification project that will stretch down Hardy Street from the intersection of U.S. 49 to 38th Avenue. That project, which will include similar measures to the U.S. 49 project, is expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

“That part of it is behind the (U.S 49) part,” Hogan said.

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