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Suburban Spotlight

That was quite the counter punch that Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite used the other day to gain the advantage over an industrial development that didn’t seem to want to cooperate.

You start threatening a $1,000 fine for trucks using a short stretch of Southaven roadway to reach Interstate 55, and it’s very likely you will get your opponent’s attention.

And Musselwhite certainly seemed to realize he had the hammer in this match.

“You can bet when their truck drivers start getting thousand-dollar tickets, they’re gonna start squawking,” Musselwhite warned when he asked Southaven aldermen to implement the monetary penalty.
The issue involves a stretch of Tulane Road from the Tennessee-Mississippi state line to Stateline Road in Southaven. Having Stateline Road involved in the equation gives you a true sense of how short a distance we are talking about from the border.

But while it may be less than a mile, the impact is far more important to the unnamed development just north of the border in Tennessee.

You see, Tulane Road into Southaven (and, yes, the road is two lanes) is the most direct route to reach Stateline Road, which is the most direct route to get to Interstate 55, the major north-south artery through the Central United States. Stretching from the southern tongue of Louisiana north to the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Without the Tulane access providing a short way to Interstate 55 at Stateline Road, the trucks will be diverted to the north, all the way to the Shelby Drive ramps of I-55. That’s quite a roundabout start if you want to go south to Jackson or New Orleans or points in between.

In this week’s story by North Mississippi reporter Beth Sullivan, Musselwhite gave some diplomatic reasons for the fines, such as protecting against damage to Southaven roads by tractor-trailers. And the DeSoto County city wants to revitalize the Stateline Road corridor, something that could suffer with a lot of truck traffic.

But make no mistake, Musselwhite and other Southaven officials were miffed with the Memphis business’ failure to communicate. It seems they couldn’t get anyone with the company to deal with the city’s concerns or even discuss the matter.

“We’re not against trying to find a solution, but they’ve got to talk to us, and not just … kind of blow us off like that,” the mayor said.

It seems it would be a good idea to start talking before the truckers start squawking. - Suburbs editor Clay Bailey 

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