Supervisors discuss merits of proposed road

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 23, 2014

The discussion on continuing the project to build a road connecting Anchor Lake and West Union Road got heated Wednesday morning at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

In 2009, members of the board, which included Board President J. Patrick Lee and Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith, travelled to Washington D.C. to get funding for an interchange at Interstate 59 in Carriere, said Smith and Lee.

Lee said the plan laid out for construction of the interchange was “unfathomable.” It would have cost about $20 million and taken 10-12 years to construct.

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Another plan was introduced to help relieve the traffic problems in the area: construction of a road connecting Anchor Lake to W. Union Road, Lee said.

The road would provide Anchor Lake residents with easier access to the Interstate.

Lee said the road would also open up unused 16th Section land to development for either a school or other project.

Smith said there were previous plans for Pearl River County School District to build a new high school on that land.

Smith said he disagrees with moving forward with the project because of its impact on landowners.

He said he doesn’t think the road would be used.

At the meeting, County Engineer Les Dungan said the county is still two steps way from beginning construction of the road.

Lee said it could take a few more years before the county starts construction on the project.

Dungan said the county has received about $1.9 million so far for the project to help begin the process of environmental evaluations and acquiring right-of-ways.

Smith wanted the landowners who object to the project to be able to speak at the meeting, but he said he wasn’t aware that they were going to discuss the matter at Wednesday’s meeting.

Smith said during the meeting that there were a lot of people in the area who didn’t agree with the project.

“You’re never going to have a project where 100 percent of the people are going to back it,” said Supervisor Anthony Hales at the meeting.

Smith expressed his concerns on how the road would affect landowners during the meeting.

“Anywhere you put a road, it’s going to affect a property owner,” Hales said.

Lee said any project is going to have people oppose a project and affects property owners.

“I think we need to be responsible for the money we’ve been given and do what we said we would do with the money,” Lee said.