Lake Harbour extension officially open
The $28 million Lake Harbour extension was to have opened this morning with an official ribbon cutting.
Mayor Gene F McGee said that the public is welcome to attend the ribbon-cutting scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the long-awaited east-west corridor that connects to the Highland Colony Parkway.
“I’m very excited, this will be a game-changer for traffic movement in the city,” McGee said. “It will open up the doors for us to change traffic to Jackson street.”
The ribbon-cutting will be held at the west end of the Lake Harbour Drive bridge on the Highland Colony. Parking will be available at Word of Life Church, 670 Highland Colony Pkwy. In Ridgeland.
Community Development Director Alan Hart said that this is part of the ongoing plan to promote development within the city.
“I applaud the vision of the mayor and board in recognizing the importance of this arterial for our city’s ability to realize economic growth in the southwestern section of Ridgeland,” Hart said. “This new road will provide a brand-new connection to one of the most premier shopping destinations in Mississippi and will afford Ridgeland with great development opportunities.”
Construction cost for the project came to about $22 million with another $6 million in other items like engineering and design work as well as acquiring right-of-way.
Much of the monies — 80 percent — is coming from the Mississippi Department of Transportation with the city on the hook for about 20 percent. Much of the city’s funds for the project come from just under $20 million in bonds issued to fund major capital projects last year.
Early predictions had the project opening as early as July or August, though Public Works Director Mike McCollum said this September opening it is still ahead of schedule with a contract date later in October.
Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard stressed that the completed bridge would better connect the city, which is bisected by I-55 and the railroad.
“I think it’s a tremendous addition,” Heard said. “It further ties the two sides of Ridgeland more and more into one cohesive city.”
Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier said that the project has been in the works for a long time and thanked McGee and his leadership for seeing the project realized.
“It’s a project a long time in the making. The mayor has driven us forward,” Gautier said. “It finally gets us to where we need to be to get the city connected.”
Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin said that the project has been in the city’s sites at least as long as he has served on the board.
“I’ve been on the board for almost 12 years, and ever since I’ve been here this has been something we’ve worked towards,” Hamlin said. ‘It’s a milestone and it’s very exciting.”
The project provides increased ease of access to major shopping centers on the Highland Colony Parkway like the Renaissance and Township shopping centers and the brand new Costco.
Ward 5 Alderman Bill Lee said that he hoped making east to west and vice versa travel easier will ease traffic congestion city-wide and contribute the city’s long term goal of transforming the Railroad District and the site of the new city center building set to open in December into a walkable downtown area with easy access to the rest of the city.
“It’s a gateway to Highland Colony Parkway,” Lee said. “It’s a tremendous plus. It’ll enable people to go right to Costco and it’ll relieve a lot of traffic from Jackson Street.”