Warren County to apply for TAP grant for improvements in Marcus Bottom

Published 11:29 am Friday, September 23, 2022

The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted on Monday to apply for a Transportation Alternatives Program grant to fund improvements in Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility and pedestrian accessibility along a stretch of Halls Ferry Road in Marcus Bottom.

The area included in the TAP grant application stretches along Halls Ferry Road from Harris Street to Bowmar Avenue. Receiving the federal grant, which is administered through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, would make the area safer, said Warren County engineer Keith O’Keefe.

“Every intersection between Harris and Bowmar streets, there are no curb cuts there now, which don’t allow for ADA accessibility as well as safer pedestrian accessibility. We would go in and replace the curbing and we’d have what we call truncated mats placed down in those areas to assist visually impaired people,” O’Keefe said. “We’d put in crosswalks at those locations where the curb cuts are; no asphalt work or overlay there, but striping.

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“We would also go in and redo some of the vegetation and landscaping in the medians, and then there’s a pedestrian railing where a box culvert is along Hall’s Ferry,” he added. “We would remove that and replace it with a decorative railing. It’s in pretty bad shape.”

The proposed project is estimated to cost $498,209.07, with a local match of $168,728.57, depending on whether or not the city of Vicksburg includes the area in its plan to upgrade streetlights to LED lights. Should the county choose to include LED lighting in its application, those cost estimates rise to $713,669.07, requiring a local match of $222,188.57.

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson said during Monday’s meeting that, should the county receive the grant, it would benefit not only those in her district but all residents and travelers along one of Vicksburg’s main thoroughfares.

“That area of Halls Ferry is an area that runs a 24-hour cycle of walkers, cyclists, traffic. There isn’t anyone in Warren County or who visits Warren County that doesn’t come through there,” Jackson said. “This, safety, is not just for the residents of District 3. But it is worth noting that it’s for tons of people.”

Jackson also said she’d observed numerous pedestrians and people in wheelchairs along this stretch of road, which in her opinion justified the need for county involvement in the project.

The Board of Supervisors approved the application in a 4-2 vote, with Supervisors William Banks (District 2) and Edward Herring (District 1) voting nay.

Banks voiced during the meeting that his reason for voting against the county’s TAP grant application was that the proposed improvements “should be a function of the city and not of the county.”

O’Keefe stated during the meeting that, while the funds are not guaranteed, it would be a benefit for people in the area.

“There’s no guarantee we’ll get funding for this,” O’Keefe said. “We’ve still got some work to do and it’s very competitive for these grants. But I think we’ve got a good chance of getting funded.”

The deadline for TAP grant applications is Sept. 30. Once applications are reviewed, MDOT will rank the applications and choose which projects to fund.