Desoto County News

Getwell Road South widening project officially begins

Photo: The traffic light and Getwell Road and College Street is being replaced as part of the Getwell Road South widening project. The current light was placed due to traffic and pedestrian safety concerns. (Bob

Wednesday is the official start of a road construction project that will certainly provide some driver headaches while it’s being done, but will be a welcome addition when it is finished. 

Getwell Road, south of Church Road to Starlanding Road, is being widened to five lanes. Currently the road has two lanes in some areas and two lanes with a turning lane in other areas. 

It’s been a traffic concern for many drivers who use Getwell Road, especially the area between College Street and Starlanding Road where a church and DeSoto Primary School is located. Traffic becomes especially heavy there during morning and afternoon rush when families bring students to the primary school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. A crossing guard, Mark Patton, was recently injured when struck by a vehicle while Patton was directing traffic in the area of the primary school.  

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite says the city has been trying to widen Getwell Road since 2015 when application was made for federal transportation funds through the Metropolitan Planning Organization Agency, or MPO.  

“We jumped many hurdles along the way as metropolitan jurisdictions must share limited funding for this program,” Musselwhite recently said. “When it was finally “our turn”, we complied with MDOT processes as they are charged with managing federal transportation funds. Then, you start the right-of-way purchase for the land needed to widen the road which takes on a life of its own with family trusts, absentee owners, and interesting personalities.”

Musselwhite said the original cost of the widening project was pegged at about $10.5 million with a federal fund allocation of nearly $7.9 million.  When let for bid, the lowest bid price was just over $14 million. An assist from DeSoto County for a planned intersection signal project replacing the temporary signal at Getwell and College Street helps provide $875,000 but the city’s portion for the widening project is nearly $5.3 million.  

The mayor said Getwell Road is being widened south of Church Road to Starlanding Road from two lanes to five lanes. 

“The west side of the road will also be prepped for a future multi-use pedestrian trail as future funding becomes available,” Musselwhite said. “This project will eliminate the current “bottleneck” at Church Road.”  

The traffic signal at College Street is also being replaced to a signal that also provides traffic control for a turning lane.  

Musselwhite added future projects have Getwell being widened further south to I-269

“Southaven and DeSoto County have had many discussions about this and will continue to pursue a complete solution on the busiest north/south arterial road in our county, excluding federal and state routes,” the mayor said.  

It will take about two years for completion of the Getwell Road South widening project.  During construction, Getwell south of Church Road has had the speed limit reduced from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour.  

While the next two years may provide some driver concerns, the finished product should make for smoother, safer traveling through this corridor of the state’s third-largest city.  

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