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Median on 61 South going for turning lanes

Vehicles travel U.S. 61 South near Warrenton Road Tuesday afternoon. The median will be eliminated.(Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

[3/17/04]In three years, the median will be removed along a stretch of U.S. 61 south of Vicksburg to add turning lanes and a 2 1/2-mile stretch will be repaved.

Surveyors with ABMB Engineers have been hired by the state to gather data that will be used to design the proposed $3.5 million state project. Work is not expected to begin until the summer of 2007, said Walter Lyons, district engineer for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The biggest part of the project will be removing the grassy strip between the two north- and southbound lanes to make room for a fifth lane.

“It’s built up so much down there and the median gives us a lot of trouble,” Lyons said.

Another factor considered by MDOT has been numerous complaints about the grass not being mowed often.

The project area starts just south of Warrenton Road and continues to the city limits south of Vicksburg Municipal Airport. Plans also include curb and gutter work, Lyons said.

The latest traffic counts show about 12,000 cars travel that portion of the highway daily.

The city is also seeking to have a 100-mile corridor of U.S. 61, including the project area, designated as the Lower Mississippi Historic Byway. The designation would make available federal grants to improve the area.