Oxford considers new road priorities

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – Assured of upgrades on two Highway 6 interchanges and a new road between Lamar Boulevard and Old Taylor Road, city leaders are mulling priorities among several more proposed roads near the town’s edges.
Mayor Pat Patterson and City Engineer Bart Robinson outlined six possibilities Thursday to ease traffic problems and open new areas to development.
“Most of our major road needs are in the county,” Robinson said. “Oxford has been built pretty compact. To come inside of Oxford and build some of these connectors is nearly impossible.”
Any of three options in east Oxford would add access to a planned urban development (PUD) that includes Oxford Conference Center, Della Davidson Elementary School and the under-construction Oxford High School. Currently the development has only one access point – Sisk Avenue – but the PUD’s charter requires a second road for any of several development directions.
Additional access options include:
• a 3,248-foot, $1.88 milllion frontage road northward from Sisk to state Highway 30;
• a 2,500-foot, $1.37 million extension of Ed Perry Boulevard to University Avenue via Pegues Road;
• and a 3,745-foot, $2.06 million extension of Commonwealth Boulevard to University Avenue near its junction with state Highway 6/U.S. Highway 278.
Patterson said owners and developers of the and will build one of the roads if the city contributes $500,000.
“I actually thought it would be a good place to spend some city money,” he said.
Julian Allen, who hopes to build 500 single-family houses over a 15-year span on the planned development, said each landowner would contribute more than the city’s share toward road construction.
“We can’t sell homes out there unless there’s more than one way to get in or out,” he said. “We
support any road.”
One proposed project on Oxford’s south side would extend County Road 300 south of the proposed new hospital for 4,634 feet at an estimated cost of $2.55 million, connecting Old Taylor Road to South Lamar Boulevard. A $5.11 million, 9,291-foot westward extension of County Road 300 –mostly outside city limits – could serve as a frontage road for development of University of Mississippi land and private property west of Coliseum Drive, most of which is outside city limits.
“In that case we would have to wait to see what the university does or what the county does,” Robinson said. Another long-sought project is a 12,535-foot extension of West Oxford Loop to Old Sardis Road. It would provide an entirely new access at FNC Park that would cut several miles off some current routes, but its $6.89 million cost would cover several of the smaller projects.
While aldermen will not
rush a decision on the
proposals, Alderman Janice
Antonow noted a crucial
need for more
connectors between Old
Taylor Road and South
Lamar Boulevard.
“If something happens
on Old Taylor Road (south
of Bickerstaff ), people
there have no other way
to get to town except to go
to Taylor and come back
up,” she said.
Patterson said additional
access to the eastside
schools is vital.
“If something happens
to Sisk, you’re not getting
out,” he said. “There is no
other way. And you have
Della Davidson and the
high school.”
errol.castens@journalinc.com