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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Highway 12 construction continues

The construction on Highway 12 is hard to miss. The roads are a sea of orange safety barriers, and every night the road is dominated by construction workers and equipment lining the streets.

The $8 million project, which began in February of 2017, has had no delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

By now, the construction has become a mundane sight for Starkville residents and visitors.

The construction began after the Mississippi Department of Transportation noticed accidents being disproportionately high in the MS 12 corridor—noting 1,664 accidents over a five-year span—and began seeking ways to remedy the problem.

According to MDOT, accidents happened, on average, every 22 feet, resulting in 470 injuries over the five-year period.

To try and combat such daunting numbers, MDOT focused on installing fiber optic cables in stop lights and concrete medians to block center turn-lane access.

This is because the most common accidents are right-angle crashes or crashes occurring when a driver tries to change multiple lanes to get to a safe travel lane. By installing the median, MDOT hopes to decrease these multiple lane accidents significantly.

Mike Tagert, MDOT transportation commissioner, spoke of the importance of safety to a traffic corridor which sees between 25,000 and 26,000 cars on an average day.

“I think that the methods we are putting in place are time-tested,” said Tagert. “What they show, over time, is that a safe route is a business-friendly route. Accidents are reduced dramatically, property values increase and, for these reasons, we think it’s a win-win.”

Emphasizing the night-only construction, Tagert said MDOT has businesses in mind. Specifically, MDOT implemented a phasing system to help businesses. Only a section of the highway is currently under construction, so the specific section can be done before holiday shopping.

“We have tried to do everything we possibly can in order to minimize the impact on business,” Tagert said.

However, some business owners have a more cautious outlook than Tagert. Allen McBroom, owner of Backstage Music on MS 12, originally looked on at the construction with a “wait-and-see mindset.” However, when asked if he had heard any discontent or fear from fellow business owners, he responded with a chuckle.

“Just all the ones I talk to,” McBroom said.

In the beginning, the construction only consisted of concrete islands, which limited access to the turn-lane but left room for turning into businesses. McBroom said he had no problem with this. However, with more recent construction, he said he became more dismayed that the concrete runners would limit access to turn lanes entirely.

“Personally, I’ve got a lot of concerns about how that’s gonna work out in terms of safety, in terms of business access and in terms of traffic flow,” McBroom said.

Phase one of construction, which began at the western end of the MS 12 corridor, will continue from New Light Road to Eckford Drive.

Phase two of the construction will begin after phase one is completed, is anticipated to stretch from Eckford Drive to Russell Street. 

About the Contributor
Dylan Bufkin
Dylan Bufkin, Former Editor-in-Chief
Dylan Bufkin served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Reflector from 2020 to 2021. He also served as the Opinion Editor from 2019 to 2020.
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Highway 12 construction continues