By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Construction crews are starting work this week on two major thoroughfares in Oxford.
One project will add a sidewalk and dual bike lanes to Sisk Avenue between Highway 7 and Bramlett Boulevard/Park Drive. The bike lanes will be striped onto the current pavement; officials say the four-foot narrowing of the street will have the additional safety advantage of slowing traffic. The $275,000 Sisk Avenue project is scheduled for completion in July.
Another project is on South Lamar Boulevard from Peyton Circle to near Belk Boulevard, where new bike lanes will be added in some areas, with other sections restriped and signage added to designate a roadway shared by motorists and bicyclists.
The South Lamar work will be part of 11.2 miles of bike lanes, sidewalks and other improvements that constitute the $2.5 million Phase 2 of Oxford’s Pathways Project.
Motorists on South Lamar may encounter temporary one-lane closures with flagmen directing traffic, while homeowners along the street may have sections of their driveways cut and rebuilt or their mailboxes relocated to accommodate the bike lanes.
Some of the narrowest portions of South Lamar will benefit from a one-foot extension of driving lanes.
“This project involves a variety of improvements to help pedestrians, cyclists and motorists more safely and effectively share our streets,” said Reanna Mayoral, assistant city engineer. “Projects that improve walkability and/or bikeability have been shown to improve the safety of all users of the road, promote healthy activities and increase property values.”
While South Lamar work is expected to be finished in May, Pathways work will extend in other locations through August 2013. Other portions include Belk Drive, North Lamar, Mississippi Highway 314, Bramlett Boulevard, South 18th Street, Williams Avenue and Mississippi Highway 30.
The $2.5 million Pathways Phase 2 project is paid for through federal Transportation Enhancement Act funds and a 20 percent city match.