Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive features numerous expanded joints running across the street as well a few potholes.

Greenwood and Leflore County officials are wanting to fix one of the city’s most used streets, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s traffic count, the street had an average daily traffic rate of 4,300 cars in 2017, the latest year available, making it one of the more heavily traveled streets in town. It links Main Street on the west to U.S. 82 on the east.

Martin Luther King also has numerous bumps, the result of the street’s expanded joints that motorists drive across. In some areas, small potholes also are forming.

“It’s terrible the way that street is. It’s a good street, and we need to fix it,” said Ronnie Stevenson, president of the City Council.

“A lot of people use Martin Luther King to come through Greenwood or to get to the highway, to get to downtown,” Stevenson said, adding it’s the main way people from Carroll County arrive in and leave from Greenwood.

Though the street does not fall in Stevenson’s Ward 3, he said it should be a high priority for the city to fix. Still, he said, it’s not the only street in Greenwood that needs repair.

Leflore County Supervisor Robert Collins, whose District 5 includes Martin Luther King Drive, had engineering consultant Willis Engineering, Inc. conduct an appraisal for fixing the street.

According to the report, it would cost $500,000 to mill and repave the street, Collins said. This would include scraping a portion of the street’s surface, fixing the street’s joints, repaving  and also repainting the  stripes.

“I think we’ll get it done in a timely manner,” Collins said. The longer the repairs are delayed, the more costly they will be, he said. Unfortunately, access to money for the repairs is a stumbling block, Collins said.

There is $500,000 that the county will eventually get from the state from the Legislature’s allotment during its special session last year, which must be used strictly for infrastructure, he said.

Even when the county does get that money, Collins said, it will be split among the supervisors and most likely not all used on one project.

Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams also said the city will get $500,000 allotted from the Legislature’s 2018 special session, but she doesn’t know when it will get that money. Even then, that money will be split among the seven council members, McAdams said.

Collins is still hopeful that something will get done about Martin Luther King Drive if the city and county work together.

He said he spoke with Stevenson on Thursday morning about holding a meeting between city and county officials to draft plans to fix the street. If the whole street can’t be fixed at once, maybe the work can be done in increments, Collins said.

David Jordan, a state senator and member of the City Council, whose Ward 6 includes Martin Luther King Drive, is also aggrieved about the poor condition of the street but for a different reason.

“It’s a disgrace to have a street named after Martin Luther King in that predicament,” he said.

He joked that the bumps on the street will “rock you enough to put you to asleep.” But on a serious note, he said, “It’s in the worst predicament that it has ever been in since it’s been a street.”

The street, named after the famed civil rights hero, was known as Stone Street until Jordan introduced a resolution to change the name. The council voted to rename the street in 1986.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

(1) comment

margaretc

MLK is a very busy street but there is a very busy street in the county that needs some attention. Grenada Blvd. is also a very heavily used street coming into Greenwood. I'm sure the supervisors are aware of the terrible shape it is in. Why can't it be milled and repaved also? The people that travel that street deserve a smooth ride also.

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