Notable Streets and County Highways in Lauderdale County, Mississippi

This page is a works-in-progress, giving info and opinions on the more important secondary roads within the county.

As a general rule, streets and secondary roads in Lauderdale County (as with most of Mississippi) are rather narrow with pavement in fair to poor condition.  Virtually all secondary highways and most local roads in the county are paved, the county's paving program having began in 1951.  And almost without exception, lane widths on county roads are 10 feet vice the federal standard (and preferred) 12 feet.  Speed limits are generally 45 MPH, although there are some road segments with lower speed limits.  No county-maintained roads have a speed limit higher than 45 MPH.

There is no numbering system for county roads, to the best of my knowledge.  All streets and roads in the county are named, primarily due to Lauderdale County having an E-911 system, but also because of a state law requirement that all road within a county must be named or numbered.  Major (non-state-highway) thoroughfares outside of Meridian tend to have the names of the hamlets they connect as the street name (i.e. Lauderdale-Toomsuba Rd, Marion-Russel Rd, etc...).


8th Street

Location: Meridian, MS.  From 22nd Ave in downtown Meridian westward to MS 19 near College Park.
Federal-Aid Number: 9450 (continues south on 22nd Ave)
Functional Classification: Principal Arterial
2007 Traffic Volumes: 18,000 near 40th Ave
Speed Limit: 35 MPH
Notes: This is the main drag from downtown west towards the Meridian Community College and the branch Mississippi State campuses.  It's the original route for US 11, US 80, and MS 19, before the two US highways were re-routed south to Tom Bailey Drive in the early '50s.  When Tom Bailey Drive was upgraded to interstate standards, MS 19 was rerouted south to it, and 8th Street was turned back to the city.

8th Street is a very busy, very congested, and narrow street.  Street width is perhaps 40ft on average, allowing for 2 narrow 10ft-wide lanes in each direction with no turn lanes and no parking.  There are numerous stoplights and driveways along it as well, so not only are left turns a dicey and dangerous prospect, but so are turns just to get ONTO 8th Street.  I don't see any easy solution to the problem either, as the street ROW itself is narrow and any appreciable widening of the street would require taking out several businesses.  Restriping the street for a 3-lane cross section (1 lane each way plus a center left turn lane) is a possibility, but may not be well-received by drivers.  Also, traffic volumes are at the high end of what a 3-lane cross section can support, anyway.

Froggie Suggests: As an interim step, resurface the highway and restripe it as a 3-lane cross section, as described above under notes.  The existing street width should be wide enough to support one 11ft lane in each direction, an 11ft center left turn lane, and a 3.5ft bicycle lane along the curb.

In the long-term, the city may just want to bite the bullet and acquire enough right-of-way to build a 70ft cross-section on 8th St, between MS 19 and 24th Ave.  70ft is enough wide to provide two 11ft lanes in each direction, an 11ft center left turn lane, curb-and-gutter, and a 6ft sidewalk on each side.  Existing 8th St east of 24th Ave can remain as-is.


North Hills Street

Location: North side of Meridian, MS.  Generally considered to run from State Blvd east to MS 39, though it ties in directly with Bounds Rd. Ext on the west and Lindley Rd. and Marion-Russell Rd on the east, making for a continuous road running from MS 19 on the western fringe of Meridian, north and then east through the northern part of Meridian, east through Marion and near the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Industrial Park, and then southeast to the hamlet of Russell.  The section I discuss here runs from MS 19 to US 45.
Federal-Aid Number:
  • 7242 (MS 19 to MS 493)
  • 9455 (MS 493 to east of MS 39)
  • 9440 (east of MS 39 to Meridian East Urban Boundary)
Functional Classification: Minor Arterial
2007 Traffic Volumes:
  • 4,600 near MS 19
  • 3,800 west of State Blvd
  • 9,800 east of Kings Rd
  • 19,000 between 29th Ave and MS 493/Poplar Springs Dr
  • 18,000 between 10th Ave and MS 39
  • 8,600 west of Old US 45/Dale Dr
Speed Limit: 35 MPH, though there are a couple of 40 MPH sections and one 45 MPH section.
Notes: This road generally serves as a connector/minor-arterial through the northern sections of Meridian.  Much of it is two lanes.  There are a few three-lane sections, and the section between 35th Ave and MS 493, the most recent section, is striped for five lanes (two each way plus center turn lane).

The section between MS 493 and MS 39 cries out for improvements.  This is the second-busiest part of North Hills Street, averaging 18,000 vehicles a day on only a 2 lane road.   There ARE a few left turn lanes, at MS 493, MS 39, and Country Club Blvd, but overall the road is very inadequate for the amount of traffic on it.  Rebuilding the road will be difficult as well, as it is very hilly with numerous trees and driveways.   A lot of new ROW would also have to be taken.  Another thing compounding the problem is a lack of alternate routes, so even if they DID manage to get the ROW and funding to upgrade this section, there's really nowhere else for the traffic to go.

That said, the city has impending (as of mid-2008) plans to widen North Hills St to 5 lanes between 10th Ave and MS 39.  This would include a traffic signal at 10th Ave and a realignment of Country Club Dr to meet 10th Ave instead of North Hills St.

One other possible solution, which has presented itself on the MDOT Functional Classification map, is for a bypass, which would be an extension of Federal-Aid Route 9440, from near State Blvd to east of MS 39, and about 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of existing North Hills St. Given that much of that area is residential development, this rerouting does not look likely.

An extension to the southwest, from MS 19 to the I-20/59 junction, is proposed as Federal-Aid Route 9439.

Froggie Suggests: First and foremost, the segment between MS 493 and MS 39 needs to be widened to 5 lanes.

There are those who suggest that North Hills St also needs to be widened west of 35th Ave (where, heading west, it narrows from 5 lanes to 2 lanes).  A 5-lane widening west to Kings Rd may be justified based on traffic.

Also, should a Meridian North Bypass not ever be built, a 4-lane widening east of MS 39 to US 45 may also be in order.


Stennis Drive

Location: Northern part of the county, from MS 39 east to the front gate at Naval Air Station, Meridian.
Federal-Aid Number: 456 (continues west via Sunshine Rd and other roads to MS 495, and continues east via Rabbit Rd and Campground Rd to US 45)
Functional Classification: Major Collector
2007 Traffic Volumes: 5,700
Speed Limit: 55 MPH
Notes: This is the main connector route between the end of the 4-lane section on MS 39 and the front gate to the Navy base.  Originally built as a 2-lane highway, it was widened to a 4-lane divided highway sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s as operations at NAS Meridian expanded.

Long designated as a hidden state highway route, it was finally signed in the mid-2000s as MS 854.

Froggie Suggests: As with all 4-lane divided highways in Mississippi, MDOT should pave full shoulders, build turn lanes at intersections, and implement access management along the route.


Dale Dr (Old Hwy 45)

Location: Along Old US 45 from MS 39 near 19th St, northeast through Marion to present-day US 45 bypass.
Federal-Aid Number: 9456
Functional Classification:
  • Minor Arterial (MS 39 to Lindley Rd)
  • Major Collector (Lindley Rd to US 45)
2007 Traffic Volumes: 5,900
Speed Limit: 45 MPH
Notes: This is the "second-generation routing" of US 45 through eastern Meridian and Marion (the bypass is the "third-generation routing").  It's 2 lanes, and except for the ends and one short stretch near a manufacturing plant, is in very poor condition, with substandard, narrow bridges and numerous bumps and ruts in the pavement.  Though there is only one stop sign, in Marion where it crosses Lindley Rd (which connects to North Hills Street and Marion-Russell Rd), traffic frequently gets tied up behind people trying to turn left off of the road.  This problem is especially noticeable during the evening rush hour.

The northern 3/4 mile or so is a 4-lane divided highway leading to US 45.  I believe this is because the 4-lane stretch of US 45 northeast of Marion was built before work began on the US 45 bypass of Marion and Meridian.  This section is also maintained by MDOT as a hidden state route, MS 884.

There have been bills in the Mississippi Legislature in recent years by local legislators, attempting to get MDOT to take back the entire route, probably as a new incarnation of MS 145.  This is due to the route having once served as a US highway, it currently serving a significant amount of traffic, and also (I believe) to get the state to assist in funding improvements to the route, which are badly needed.  The persistence eventually succeeded during the 2000 Legislative session, but under the legislation, the cities and counties are required to bring the roadway up to "state highway standards" before MDOT will take it over.

Froggie Suggests: Optimally, this road would be fully reconstructed and widened to either a 5-lane street or a 4-lane divided urban road with turn lanes.  A cheaper solution, which would still adequately handle existing traffic volumes, would be to reconstructed as a 3-lane street (2 lanes plus center left turn lane) with shoulders, right turn lanes, and access management.

This road would be a candidate for a BUSINESS US 45 designation.  It could also be signed as MS 145, in keeping with MDOT standard policy of signing bypassed U.S. route segments with a MS 1xx designation.


North Shore Drive

Location: Eastern part of the county, from US 11/80 north and east around Bailey Lake to Lauderdale-Toomsuba Rd.
Federal-Aid Number: None.
Functional Classification: None.
2007 Traffic Volumes: Unknown, but likely less than 1,000.
Speed Limit: 35 MPH
Notes: This route, along with US 11/80 and Lauderdale-Toomsuba Road, forms a loop around Bailey Lake near Toomsuba.  There's a hidden designation for this route, MS 895, and it is state maintained, though I'm not sure why.
Froggie Suggests: Drop it from the state highway system and transfer jurisdiction to the county.


T.K. Culpepper Road

Location: Eastern part of the county, from MS 496 eastward to the Alabama line.
Federal-Aid Number: None.
Functional Classification: None.
2007 Traffic Volumes: Unknown, but likely less than 200.
Speed Limit: Unknown, but presumably the standard county speed limit of 45 MPH.
Notes: I've included this road on this page because it carries a hidden designation, MS 897, though I don't know why.  It connects to a county road on the Alabama side (Sumter CR 1).

Long a gravel road not even a mile long, it was paved in late 2000.

Froggie Suggests: Drop it from the state highway system and transfer jurisdiction to the county.


22nd Ave Heights/Causeyville Road

Location: From MS 145 at I-20/59 southeast to Causeyville (labeled on some maps as Increase).
Federal-Aid Number:
  • 9446 (22nd Ave/MS 145 to Meridian East Urban Boundary)
  • 454 (Meridian East Urban Boundary to Causeyville, number continues east to Shannon Rd)
Functional Classification: Major Collector.
2007 Traffic Volumes:
  • 3,500 (From MS 145 to just east of US 45)
  • 2,600 (Near Long Creek Rd-Vimville Rd)
  • 760 (near Causeyville)
Speed Limit:
  • Generally 20-30 MPH inside Meridian
  • 40-45 MPH outside of Meridian
Notes: This road, along with MS 19, is an important route connecting Meridian with the southeastern part of Lauderdale County.  Causeyville Road was built as a WPA project back during the 1930s, and as such is rather narrow, hilly, and very curvy, as secondary roads built back then tended to follow the contours of the land a great deal.   In particular is one very nasty hairpin curve at Aycock Road in which Causeyville road does about a 120 degree turn.
Froggie Suggests: For consistency, the road should be renamed as Causeyville Rd within the Meridian city limits.

Causeyville Rd should be reconstructed to improve geometry and safety.  The cross-section should include two 12ft driving lanes and a minimum of a 2ft paved shoulder on each side, with a 6-8ft paved shoulder being desirable.  Left turn lanes should be provided at major cross streets, including MS 145, Virginia Dr, Southwood Lake Dr, the US 45 ramps, Zero Rd, Long Creek-Vimville Rd, Aycock Rd, and Vimville-Causeyville Rd.

As part of the reconstruction, sharp curves should be smoothed out and realigned to provide for a more consistent design speed.  A minimum design speed of 25 MPH, with 35 MPH desirable, should be used within the Meridian city limits.  Outside of Meridian, a minimum design speed of 40 MPH, with 55 MPH desirable, should be used.

Upon completion of reconstruction, the speed limit should be increased to 30 or 35 MPH (depending on design speed) within Meridian, while outside of Meridian the speed limit should be increased to 55 MPH.


Chip Pickering Dr

Location: Northern part of the county, from MS 854/Stennis Dr at Fred Clayton Rd, southeastward to US 45 at Minnow Bucket Rd.
Federal-Aid Number: Unknown if one exists.
Functional Classification: Unknown if one exists.
2007 Traffic Volumes: Unknown, but likely less than 1,000.
Speed Limit: 40 MPH.
Notes: During the mid-2000s, Lauderdale County built a new connector road between MS 854/Stennis Dr and US 45 at Minnow Bucket Rd, in order to provide better access from US 45 to the Naval Air Station.  The new road is partly on new alignment, but also utilized reconstructed segments of Fred Clayton Rd, Lockhart Trailer Court Rd, and the existing Campground Rd bridge over the KCS railway just west of US 45.

The road was finally completed sometime between mid-2007 and mid-2008, and named after Chip Pickering, the Mississippi Congressman who represents the Meridian area in Congress.

Froggie Suggests: The road can easily support a higher speed limit.  55 MPH is desirable, but 45 MPH would be a reasonable compromise.

This new road, combined with a reconstruction of Minnow Bucket Rd and an extension of Minnow Bucket Rd eastward to I-20/59, would provide for a modern connection between the Naval Air Station and I-20/59 towards the east.


Go to Meridian's Major Street Plan
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Page last modified 8 September, 2008

Copyright (C) 2008-1999,  Adam Froehlig