Sumrall officials have worked with two landowners to close a deal that will allow Center Lane to be realigned, negating a dangerous five-way intersection in downtown.
Mayor Heath Sumrall said the city recently paid $15,000 to obtain rights-of-way from the landowners to move Center Lane north 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 precarious driving conditions at that site.
“It creates a five-way disaster with traffic and trail traffic, and it’s just a confusing intersection,” Sumrall said. “About a year ago, we proposed a project to move (Center Lane) down to the next intersection and eliminate that (dangerous) intersection, so you wouldn’t have five roads at the trail coming together at one point.
“So we’re going to proceed toward getting that road moved and making that intersection safer.”
Sumrall hopes to start dirt work and begin moving trees in the first week of July, and will try to do most of the work in-house through the city’s public works department rather than source outside contractors.
“We may request the county to assist us with a little bit of the dirt work, but we have the dump trucks and the manpower to get started with it and probably do a good portion of it,” he said. “We’ll probably need the county to bring in some of their heavy equipment to help re-pack the roadbed once we get it dug out, to make sure that we pack it so that we don’t have any future problems with it.
“We’ve had some engineering, surveying and legal fees, trying to get all the deeds and everything straightened out. But as far as most of the construction work, we will absorb that cost into our public works department.”
Once the asphalting portion of the project is ready to go, city officials will likely make a deal with Lamar County to use the same asphalt company the county contracts for its projects.
“They usually bid out a company, I think every year or so,” Sumrall said. “We do a cost-sharing measure where we give them some of our road taxes back, so they help us out with roadwork.
“So part of that asphalting is some of that cost.”