Part of Memorial Boulevard suffering from neglect

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Memorial Boulevard, one of Picayune’s main points of entry, is suffering from neglect.

As motorists exit Interstate 59 onto the four-lane road, their bones and vehicle suspensions are jarred by a series of large asphalt cracks and crudely patched potholes.

A short distance further, the road has a smoother coat of asphalt, complete with curbs and drainage gutters.

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These additions make the revamped section of Memorial Boulevard noticeably nicer; a stark contrast to the section closer to I-59.

City officials are aware of the problem and are applying for grant funding to remedy this situation, but in the meantime that section of the road could drive away potential residents and investors. Since the worst section is what visitors see first, the concern is that they may not traverse the road far enough to see its potential before turning around and heading back home.

Several years ago the city received a grant for improvement work on the road. Those funds enabled the city to perform the improvements that left most of Memorial Boulevard noticeably improved, including a layer of asphalt and installation of curb and drainage features along the median and roadway’s edge.

The section closest to I-59 was left out of the improvement work because funding ran out. The city was left with a difficult decision at that point. Ultimately, it was decided to complete the portion with available funds, and apply for additional funding at a later date to complete the project.

Grant funding is not easily acquired, so it is somewhat understandable the work remains incomplete.

However, as it was years ago when the initial project began, the repairs are needed, now more than ever, and not just for the sake of visitors. Local residents would also enjoy a smoother ride along all of Memorial Boulevard.