New roadway provides great new access point to MSU campus
Neel-Schaffer provided right-of-way and design services for an urban boulevard with a 10-foot wide pedestrian/bicycle lane to serve as a new south entrance to the campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville. The location of this route was studied and set by others, prior to this contract.
Officially named Hail State Boulevard, the 3.5-mile, $18 million road was completed in August 2017 and opened on September 1, 2017, the day before MSU’s first football game of the 2017 season. That was an important milestone, because Hail State Boulevard will provide football fans with a south access route to the campus and Davis Wade Stadium on game days. The new road connects with Stone Boulevard at the intersection of Black Jack Road, then continues south past the MSU South Farm until its termination at Poor House Road.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation funded 80 percent of the construction; MSU paid the remaining 20 percent.
“This road is a nice new addition that opens up this whole corridor of the campus,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said in a news release from the school. “It’s not just important to the university and our future growth, but for the whole community, Starkville and Oktibbeha County. I’m thrilled about this project.”
“At MDOT, we were glad to help and be part of the team,” said Mike Tagert, the Mississippi Northern District Transportation Commissioner. “With the university growing, having this kind of infrastructure in place is a necessity.”
While the preliminary design included four lanes, construction plans were developed for a two-lane, open-ditch roadway, with a 10-foot multi-use path. The project included widening to three lanes, with the potential to go to five lanes, at the approaches to the Blackjack Road intersection. The project included design and construction administration for the rehabilitation of Blackjack Road between Locksley Way and the traffic circle at Oktoc Road.
The project also involved the installation of street lighting and landscaping at the Poorhouse Road and Blackjack Road intersections.
The project removed the old sewer treatment facility near the MSU intramural softball fields. The parking area for the fields was modified to allow the new roadway to pass near the fields. The plans also include fencing and utility relocations for power, water and sewer. Phase A Hydraulic Design was performed for the boulevard where it crosses Catalpa Creek. This work included performing the hydrology necessary to determine the design flows at the bridge site, constructing an HEC-RAS model of the stream and bridge for scour analysis and a spur dike analysis. Neel-Schaffer engineers made a revision to the alignment near Catalpa Creek to improve the hydraulic design and save money in the construction phase.