Highland Parkway open for traffic, grand opening postponed

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2017

Highland Parkway is open again, unofficially.
A grand opening event for the road scheduled on Friday was cancelled due to the inclement weather that passed through the area.
City of Picayune Public Works Director Eric Morris said that even though the official announcement did not take place as planned, the road is ready for use.
“We’re happy to do a soft opening and for people to start using it,” Morris said.
However, the originally planned grand opening will still take place, possibly in the coming week.
While the road is open for use, there are a few punch list items to tie up, including cleaning out the dried concrete and other debris from drainage features, Morris said.
Additionally, there are some bare areas along the slopes that need grass seed and some of the curbs need to be cut out.
The Highland Parkway project has been a long time coming. Work to repair the road began in October, after initial attempts to construct it years ago discovered problems with the base, according to previous coverage.
In 2013, work to build the road between two of the three entities that agreed to conduct it was completed. The Picayune City Council and the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors completed their ends of the project by May of that year, but it took the developer a bit longer to tie in the gap. The developer’s side of the work started in May of 2015.
Once the gap was filled and traffic began to unofficially use the road, issues became evident. The road began to develop potholes and the asphalt crumbled in areas, leading to the road being closed shortly after it opened.
But during the short time the road was in use it became evident that the road is an asset to motorists attempting to reach Interstate 59, and was successful in diverting traffic from the already congested Highway 11.
In the end, the city, county and developer came to an agreement to complete the road, with the city and county each putting up $100,000, $250,000 coming from surplus Mississippi Department of Transportation grant funds and another $350,000 coming from the developer.
Another project underway in the area, the Richardson Ozona Road Relocation Project, appears to be nearing completion.

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