The new roundabout being constructed was designed to decongest the area, but residents in the area and summer school students find themselves inconvenienced. But officials say it is for long-term good.
The intersection at Chucky Mullins Drive, Hill Drive and Hathorn Road will be closed from May 15 to August 11. During this time the four-way stop will be turned into a roundabout to ease congestion at the intersection.
“I’ve been very annoyed with the construction on Chucky Mullins because I live on Old Taylor Road, and I’m taking summer classes,” recent Ole Miss graduate Rachel Vanderford said, “and most of the time, the best way to get to and from where I need to be is via that road.”
Psychology grad student Alex Eben said the closure is added headache to his commute.
“The Chucky Mullins construction makes traveling to campus during the summer extra difficult for me,” Eben said. “I’m just glad they haven’t closed Chucky Mullins to Old Taylor.”
With the closure of this highly trafficked intersection for the duration of the summer, drivers can expect greater traffic in other areas on and around campus.
Construction will take place over the summer, rather than during the school year, due to less traffic in the area during June and July.
“The idea of a roundabout at this location was first proposed in 2008, so this project has been a long-time coming,” said Ian Banner, director of facilities planning and university architect. “This is the quietest and, therefore, the most practical time of year.”
The $1.8 million project is a response to increasing traffic in the area.
Originally, the roundabout was reported to cost $800,000, but jumped to nearly $2 million.
The university hopes the construction of a new roundabout on campus will solve the problem.
“There has been an increase in congestion at this intersection over the past 8 years,” said Jon Scott, University Communications director of public relations. “Traffic backs up on Hathorn Road at lunch times and at the end of the business day.”
Traffic at the intersection has reached over 18,000 vehicles in one day according to Dave LeBanc, facilities projects and space management coordinator.
“We did traffic counts on the heaviest class day in the fall of 2014 and the heaviest class day in the spring of 2015,” LeBanc said. “The largest number of movements through the intersection was 18,272 in a 24-hour period.”
The university also hopes the new roundabout will make traffic flow more smoothly during some of the busiest times of the year, such as sports seasons.
Banner said the new roundabout is designed to handle the increasing volume of day-to-day traffic while taking into consideration the operations at the Gillom Center and softball complex.
“The closure of the intersection transfers traffic pressure points to other areas of campus,” Scott said. “UM transportation, Facilities Planning and the UM Police Department are monitoring other intersections and adding traffic control measures as needed.”