Starkville Daily News

Two Starkville roads set for major upgrades


Old Mayhew Road and East Lee Boulevard are due for a makeover.

The City of Starkville annexed the roads from Oktibbeha County in 2022. Mayor Lynn Spruill said the engineerin­g work for Old Mayhew will begin this year, while the actual road work should start next year.

“The remainder of the streets that we are now having in the annexed area will be chip sealed this year,” Spruill said.

East Lee Boulevard stretches from Mississipp­i State University's campus to Highway 182 by the Highway Patrol office. Old Mayhew Road begins just off campus by East Lee and extends to the Sprint Mart gas station by the Highlands Plantation Gardens. The city annexed these specific areas but not the Highlands, which is still the county's land.

Old Mayhew Road is in for a significan­t upgrade: reworking and realigning its subsurface and adding pavement markings, sidewalks and street lights.

On the other hand, East Lee Boulevard does not need road work but will also receive sidewalks. The city has already added LED streetligh­ts by the road.

Spruill said the city might add a roundabout to combat the low-vision, highly-trafficked intersecti­on of East Lee into Old Mayhew.

“I'm hoping we can justify it being a roundabout because that's a safer way to do it and not have either a traffic light or a stop sign — we can do a roundabout,” Spruill said,“but that's going to be from an engineerin­g standpoint for them to develop that plans, what's best for it.”

Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty, who serves the newlyannex­ed area, said Old Mayhew direly needs restructur­ing. He noted the safety issues present in the intersecti­on of East Lee and Old Mayhew.

“That's a dangerous area — the intersecti­on off of East Lee Boulevard is dangerous,” Beatty said. “Cars peel off of East Lee Boulevard over to Old Mayhew Road. I think they go so fast sometimes they're on two wheels.”

Beatty suggested creating a 90-degree turn at the intersecti­on so drivers must stop and look before exiting or entering Old Mayhew Road.

Stephen Brain, a history professor at MSU, has lived on East Lee Boulevard for 13 years. He mentioned the danger at the roads' intersecti­on and said accidents occur frequently.

“It's a terrible turn there,” Brain said, “and it's been getting worse with every year.”

Brain said traffic steadily increases by 8 a.m. when classes begin and continues to rise throughout the day.

Brain walks to campus daily, weather permitting, and said he was delighted to hear the city is adding sidewalks on his street because he “never thought it would happen.”

“Sidewalks create this halfway space between public and private,”

Brain said, “where people can gather … and it changes the way a place feels if people are out on foot versus just getting in their cars and zooming from one place to the next.”

Bailey Whitworth, a junior biochemist­ry and forensic sciences major at MSU, lives at the Redpoint apartment complex on Old Mayhew Road. She is all too familiar with Old Mayhew Road, echoing Brain's observatio­n of the road's quality worsening over time.

“So, I'd just say it's frustratin­g and irritating to have to drive super, super crazy slow,” Whitworth said, “and then at that stop sign [on Old Mayhew Road] — if you come to a complete stop because of the gravel, [my tires] spin out.”

Whitworth said driving at night was especially scary due to low light and cars driving in the middle of the road to avoid potholes and bumpy patches.

“There have been times when I have to get very, very close to the end of the road where it drops off to avoid cars,”whitworth said.

Whitworth mentioned her support of LED streetligh­ts and a roundabout to mitigate traffic.

Additional­ly, Spruill wrote a community project funding grant resolution that asks Rep. Michael Guest to fund sewage for houses in the newly-annexed area that the East Oktibbeha Wastewater District does not cover.

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