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Traffic Issues Inspire Major Road Changes in Oxford

Oxford residents and visitors have become well acquainted with the struggle that traffic can cause in this small town. What once took merely minutes to drive the few-mile stretch down Jackson Avenue can now take much longer due to the increasing number of Oxford citizens and Ole Miss students.

Over 23,000 cars travel down Jackson Avenue every day. This number is astounding when compared with the daily totals of 16,000 that pass down Barnes Crossing by the mall in Tupelo and the 38,000 that pass down the 6 – 8 lane Goodman Road in Southaven.

Bart Robinson, city engineer and director of public works, is one of the many people who have noticed that traffic has become a major issue in Oxford and is working to correct the problem.

“We have become a small town with bigger town problems,” Robinson said. “When you go to Barnes Crossing you expect to be stuck in traffic, here we complain about it.”

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-12-16-pmThe City of Oxford and Lafayette County have teamed up to combat this issue by spending $14 million in road construction. This budget will cover extending Sisk Avenue to Highway 6 and extending West Oxford Loop to College Hill. The projects are currently in the initial land appraisals and property acquisition phase with hopes to start construction by the end of this year.

“If we are in construction by this winter, both projects should be completed in about 18 months,” Robinson said. “Sisk is a shorter road so it will be completed sooner than the West Oxford Loop extension.”

As Oxford residents rejoice at the thought of improved traffic, it is important to note that there could still be changes to these designs if the right-of-ways are too expensive.

A right-of-way is the right that the construction companies have to make a road over a piece of land. If these become too expensive for the budget, the plans may have to be changed.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-6-10-58-pmThere are also many long-term plans to improve the traffic flow in Oxford. One potential new route that could exist is an extension from Allison Cove, behind Salsaritas, to Anderson Road. Another option is to connect North Thacker Loop to Anderson Road. These would both help take the traffic load off of Jackson Avenue.

The traffic problems impact both the City of Oxford and Lafayette County. Robinson plans to work closely with Lafayette County in the future to continue to address this issue. As Oxford changes and grows, the roads in and around the town must do the same.

Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12@gmail.com.

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