We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for your patience as we continue to move Hattiesburg forward!
On Friday, July 14 at 7 p.m., the City of Hattiesburg will close Main Street between East 5th and East 6th streets due to a concern for public safety regarding the Mount Carmel Baptist Church property that was severely damaged during a tornado in 2013.
In May, both the City’s fire marshal, Stephen Mooney, and building official, Steve Mitchell, declared the building closest to the corner of North Main Street and East 5th Street as “unsafe,” “high-risk,” “a public hazard,” and an “imminent threat of collapse” per both the International Fire Code (Section 110) and the International Building Code (Section 116).
“We’ve been working with Mount Carmel Baptist Church for well over a year and a half to come to the best decision about what to do with the property,” said Mark Jordan, manager of the code enforcement division. “Based on those discussions, the church agrees with the City’s paramount concern for public safety and that immediate action needs to be taken on the most severely damaged portions of the building.”
Several conversations between the City and Mount Carmel’s mortgage lender, the State Bank of Texas, revealed the bank will not allocate any additional resources to making sure the property is no longer a threat to public safety. Additionally, reports from two structural engineers have validated the imminent threat of the building’s collapse.
Because of such, the City will begin closing the segment of North Main Street between East 5th and East 6th Streets, effective 7 p.m. on Friday.
“Blocking off a main thoroughfare isn’t ideal, but it is necessary to keep our citizens safe – which remains our highest priority,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “This will allow us to secure the area from immediate danger and harm while allowing our team to make the best decisions regarding the future of the property and structure.”
Detour routes have been set up for thorough traffic at Main Street and 4th Street and at Main Street and 7th Street. Detour signs will be in place to assist traveling motorists.
Large commercial vehicles will need to take Bouie Street (Highway 11) to access downtown Hattiesburg or Old Highway 42. Signage will be posted and communication with dispatchers and emergency response services will also be in place.
Please called City of Hattiesburg Traffic Department at 601-545-4626 ext. 201 with any question.