The Board of Aldermen approved requests to activate the Thacker Road sidewalk project and the West Jackson Avenue pedestrian signal improvements project in its meeting on Tuesday night. The city will receive funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for the projects.
City engineer Reanna Mayoral said Oxford received two of three grants it has applied for from the Mississippi Department of Transportation through the Transportation Alternative award, the first of which will go toward the Thacker Road sidewalk project.
“We have been awarded up to $750,000 for this project, which is huge,” Mayoral said. “Right now, the funds are set on an 80-20% match, which means we are going to get close to a $1 million job for less than $200,000.”
Mayoral said the city has been hoping to begin the project for several years and is excited to have the funding to finally do so. The project will pave close to a mile of sidewalks on Thacker Heights Drive from the intersection at Garden Terrace Drive to the intersection at American Eagle Way.
“Thank you so much for this project,” Alderman Janice Antonow said. “The people in that area are thrilled that they’re going to have a way to walk to the park. It’s really something that’s been needed.”
Antonow made a motion to approve the activation of the project which passed unanimously.
The board also approved activation for the West Jackson Avenue pedestrian signal improvements project for which the city will receive up to $350,000 from the Transportation Alternative award. The project will upgrade pedestrian signals on Jackson Avenue from the intersection at Gertrude Ford Boulevard to the intersection at Rebel Drive.
“We’ve got buttons in place now, but we don’t have signals where a pedestrian can see. They just push the button and aren’t told when to walk,” Mayoral said.
The city also plans to add a crosswalk at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and College Hill Road.
Also at the meeting, the Board of Aldermen approved an extension to the working hours for crews working on the East Jackson streetscape project, allowing them to work on Sundays from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The project will widen the sidewalks on East Jackson Avenue, reduce parking spaces and create permanent outdoor dining to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
The city believes advertising longer hours to those who bid for the project, particularly on Sundays, will result in a lower overall cost to Oxford. Although work will take place on Sundays, the memorandum stipulates that work on Sundays must be limited during church services to avoid interference with churches in the area.
The board discussed adding more specific language to include limiting work that would cause loud noise but decided to approve the memorandum without any changes.