Walking across a busy street will soon become safer for pedestrians in the DeSoto County seat.
According to Hernando Director of Planning Keith Briley, a series of four crosswalks, with each set being paid for through different grants, will alert pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street.
Briley said a Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO project, has financed crosswalks at U.S. Hwy. 51 and Robinson Street and U.S. Highway 51 and Nesbit Road as part of signalization projects recently installed. Turning lanes were also recently installed at both locations.
That project, which included signalization at both intersections, cost approximately $1.4 million.
"There are also two more crosswalks planned on the historic courthouse square," Briley said, adding that additional MPO project, estimated to cost $500,000, will make the square compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Waggoner Engineering of Hernando was the lead engineering firm on both projects.
Briley said originally, stamped concrete crosswalks were planned for U.S. Hwy. 51 at Commerce, allowing pedestrians to cross from the busy corner where a convenience store, Times Square Market, is located across from the historic clock tower.
"MDOT (The Mississippi Department of Transportation) didn't want us to put stamped concrete there because they might have to mill that part of U.S. 51 and they didn't want to have to raise the (milling) blade and then have to put it back down," Briley said.
However, timed electronic crosswalks with red and green hand signals are planned closer to the square, similar to those in place at Robinson Street and U.S. 51.
"When the project came about, it was the city's goal to make it safer for pedestrians to navigate safely across the street," Briley said, adding the project was actually funded under the prior city administration. "Visually, people will be made aware that it will be safe to walk across the street."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252