Electrical Upgrade Project Makes Way for Hwy. 182/MLK Revitalization

Improvements will enhance distribution reliability, system redundancy

In preparation for the Highway 182/Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor revitalization project, Starkville Utilities is moving forward with an electrical infrastructure upgrade that will improve service reliability and minimize outages for customers throughout Starkville.

Initially, the upgrade called for replacing the corridor’s existing overhead electrical infrastructure with underground facilities. After analyzing alternatives, planners found they could improve reliability and reduce costs by rerouting electrical facilities from the corridor and bolstering other parts of the system.

“Our off-corridor electrical project is not only setting the stage for corridor revitalization but also providing secondary benefits to Starkville’s electrical system,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “It also supports our Future FOCUS initiative to ensure that our electrical system can support Starkville’s growth and customers’ current and future needs.”

The city awarded the $1.7 million contract for the off-corridor electrical upgrade to Killen Contractors, Inc. of Brandon, Mississippi, with a projected completion date of May 2023.

As part of the corridor revitalization project, Starkville Utilities had been planning to build a new feeder circuit for transmitting power to its northwest substation and strengthen the tie line along Reed Road and Garrard Road, a strategy to improve service for areas on Highway 12 near Walmart and the MSU Research Park. The plan also would enhance redundancy for the circuit feeding OCH Regional Medical Center.

By tying the Highway 12 and 182 projects together, planners were able to eliminate three of four distribution circuits along the 182 corridor and transition the remaining circuit underground while still maintaining the primary circuit overhead on high-mast poles—a more cost-effective option, especially when dealing with heavy power lines.

“The corridor revitalization project has presented opportunities to reconfigure our system in an economical way that enhances reliability, redundancy and efficiency,” Kemp said. “Our focus now is making sure the off-corridor electrical upgrade proceeds on budget and on schedule to make way for the on-corridor work, which will bring innumerable benefits to our customers and the community.”

Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.

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