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New lights approved for Leon Smith Parkway

Other roadway improvements get the green light in Oxford

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OXFORD — Oxford City Council approved the addition of 13 new street lights to be placed along the stretch of Leon Smith Parkway between the entrance of Choccolocco Park and the Oxford Exchange.

The council made the unanimous decision after being briefed on the parkway project by GMC Engineering Manager Keith Strickland during its work session Tuesday night.

“We have been talking for some time about adding roadway lighting and some water line construction to the Parkway project,” Strickland said.

He explained while the water line would not become active immediately upon completion, the added construction item will get the lines over the bridge and in place ready to be connected by the Oxford Water Board at a later date.

Strickland presented the proposed pricing from the contractor to do the full installation of the roadway lights and the water line infrastructure.

“[The contractor] has the water line work at $125,000 and the roadway lighting is priced at $580,000,” Strickland said. “The lighting was not part of the original plan, but if we’re going to add it we should do it now because it will be more expensive later.”

Council also authorized Mayor Alton Craft to enter into an agreement with the state to proceed with the process of intersection improvements at U.S. 78 and Leon Smith Parkway including turn lanes and signal upgrades.

The intersection at U.S. 78 with Sunny Eve/DeArmanville Road will also receive the same upgrades under the same agreement.

Approval was also given to use a Community Development Block Grant and Appalachian Regional Commission grant to augment the city’s annual bid contract with Vulcan Materials for street resurfacing.

The added funds will be dedicated to infrastructure improvements at the I-20/185 interchange.

That area could be in store for heavier traffic as a new retail space is being planned for the area where the former Shoney’s restaurant once stood.

Council members also approved applying for a federal grant for use in improving the pedestrian sidewalks and lighting between Oak Street heading north to the city limits. If approved and accepted, the city would be responsible for a 80 percent/20 percent match.

Craft took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank the city staff for “all the fine work they’ve done over the last several months.”

“Especially in the month of May, it took a whole team effort to pull off all the tournaments they did. They did a fantastic job with the Choccolocco Monsters out at the park,” Craft said.

The mayor noted the city’s calendar remains busy with the Monsters’ Friday night game featuring fireworks after the last inning,  the upcoming women’s softball series featuring Team USA and other international teams in July, and the Rubato International Piano Competition at the Oxford Performing Arts Center in August.