City of Oxford mayor asking for immediate plan for Highway 7 safety improvements

OXFORD, MS — Three deaths in two recent accidents on the same stretch of road has some leaders asking for change in North Mississippi.

As FOX13 found out, the deaths on Highway 7 have Oxford and Lafayette county asking the state to come up with funding to widen the road.

One man we spoke to, who didn’t want to go on camera, told FOX13 his neighbor got killed in a crash on Highway 7, and like a lot of people, he said something needs to change on the Highway.

“We have more than 24,000 people that travel that road to come in to work or to visit Oxford,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said. “I don’t know how many people have to die for this to become a priority for Mississippi Department of Transportation.”

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill told FOX13 the city is demanding that MDOT make the four-lane Highway 7 between Highway 6 and Highway 9 a priority, but MDOT Northern District Commissioner John Caldwell tells FOX13′s Tom Dees the 100 million dollars needed for the project isn’t in the department’s budget.

Drivers like Robert Pugh say the road needs to be widened.

“They need to four-lane it,” Pugh said. “It gets too congested, and it winds up causing a lot of slow traffic.”

Taylor Koeppen of Oxford agrees.

“Highway 7 definitely needs to be four-lane, and they need to raise the speed limit higher than 55, because it goes from Grenada to Holly Springs, and it’s a hassle, especially people who slowpoke,” Koeppen said.

Mayor Tannehill said Highway 7 will cost a lot to improve, but it’s already cost enough.

“We have had over 800 wrecks since 2014, and since December of 2015 we have lost 16 lives on that stretch of road, the Mayor said.