It's been quite a year in 2019 for highways in North Mississippi.
One of the biggest stories of the year has been the impact of I-269 on DeSoto and Marshall counties. Since the project began, nearly $1.3 billion in corporate investments have created nearly 9,000 jobs in the area.
The economic activity has caused the combined population of the counties to grow to over 214,000, making it the region’s second largest industrial market.
As DeSoto County Planning Director Bennie Hopkins said, “Interstate 269 is a game-changer.”
In Panola County, the Tallahatchie River Bridge on State Route 6 was completed earlier this year and is part of a multi-year effort by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to rehabilitate and rebuild bridges between Cleveland and Batesville
In neighboring Tallahatchie County, 12 bridges were replaced along State Route 32 as part of a similar multi-year project.
On the east side of the state, similar projects along State Route 178 in Itawamba County and State Route 145 in Prentiss County will help keep automotive and furniture manufacturers moving efficiently.
MDOT received a federal BUILD grant to construct a new four-lane section of State Route 76 through Itawamba County. The highway is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System Corridor V which runs from Batesville to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It connects intermodal facilities in the three states.
MDOT is committed to maintaining and enhancing infrastructure to support businesses and residents into the future. In addition to bridge projects, nearly 180 miles of highway were resurfaced in north Mississippi.
But it’s not just state-maintained infrastructure MDOT has been working on.
Gov. Bryant declared a state of emergency in 2018 which immediately closed over 500 bridges on county and city routes. MDOT was entrusted with administering $250 million in Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Funds to projects statewide.
Local governments have sought funding for nearly $1 billion in repairs. The emergency fund could only address one quarter of that need.
All of MDOT's projects, whether new construction, overlays or bridge replacements, help ensure the businesses and people of Mississippi have safe, efficient and reliable infrastructure for travel and transport of goods and services.