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Gertrude Ford Boulevard Could Close in July

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Gertrude Ford Boulevard may be closed for the entire month of July while the University of Mississippi constructs a retaining wall.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen considered a request from the University to close the road from July 8 to Aug. 9. To help ease the inconvenience of the road closure, University officials offered to re-open Chucky Mullins and All American drives during the time Gertrude Ford Boulevard is closed.

However, Alderman Janice Antonow said that Oxford schools will reopen Aug. 7 and that the road needs to be open before school starts.

“Any time we close a road it causes issues all over town,” Antonow said. “We (city of Oxford) built roundabouts on South Lamar and we didn’t close the road. We kept one lane open. Baptist also built a roundabout on South Lamar and kept one lane open. It used to be that in the summer the town closed down, but we don’t see that anymore.”

The retaining wall will be built on the west side of Gertrude Ford Boulevard, similar to the one that is currently in place on the east side of the road.

“Staff has been in discussion with the University for some time regarding the project and the original traffic control plan was to use flagman and single lane closures to complete the work,” said City Engineer Reanna Mayoral. “In finalizing the construction plans, the University and their engineer have determined that it would be beneficial to close Gertrude Ford during construction.”

Mayoral also pointed out there is a gas line under the road and that closing the road would be safer during construction.

Alderman Rick Addy said he’s concerned about the University’s ability to meet the deadline since several other projects – like Chucky Mullins Drive – have been closed longer than anticipated.

It was unclear as to whether Chucky Mullins and All American drives would be closed again after the Gertrude Ford project was complete.

The Aldermen voted to allow the road to be closed; however, they changed the dates to July 1-July 31 with the stipulation that Chucky Mullins would remain open after the project was complete and that All American Drive would remain open during the duration of the Gertrude Ford Boulevard project.

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