As flooding remains an issue on Holly Springs Road work is ongoing to address the issue through county, state, and federal money.
This past week's intense rain storms once again closed Holly Springs Road due to water covering portions of the road.
DeSoto County Government Community Resource Director gave an update on the project to install bridges and other work.
"Realignment of Holly Springs Road includes the construction of three bridges and elevating the roadway about 10 feet - from Short Fork Creek to east of Dairy Barn road," Barclay said. "The $35 million project also includes the removal of the existing road and bridge structures."
Holly Springs Road serves as a major east-west thoroughfare between DeSoto, Tate and Marshall Counties. School buses, businesses and agriculture also travel on this road.
"The frequency of flooding is so substantial and frequent that in 2013 the county had to install gates along the road to protect the safety of the traveling public," Barclay added.
Many times since at least 2019 Holly Springs Road was closed for flooding, usually a day, sometimes longer.
Barclay said dates the road was closed included Jan 19, 2019; Feb 22-25, 2019; March 14, 2019; April 14, 2019; June 7, 2019; April 12, 2020; March 15, 2020; Feb 28. 2021 –March 2, 2021; and June 9, 2021.
The project will include straightening of some dangerous curves in the 2.6 mile area and the rebuilding bridges, along with raising the road level to keep the roadway from being covered with high water during periods of rainfall.
Among the funding sources for the project was $13 million from a federal program called BUILD, or Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development. That is a grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Don Davis of the Federal Highway Administration’s Mississippi Division.
“To have a project selected for this is a huge accomplishment,” Davis said in 2019. “There were 91 projects for funding, so there was some tough competition. The good thing is Mississippi had two projects selected, this here on Holly Springs Road and another on State Route 19.”
Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Melinda McGrath pointed out that a special session of the State Legislature passed an Emergency Road and Bridge Fund that will provide $7.5 million toward the Holly Springs Road project. McGrath complimented DeSoto County officials for their work in bringing the project close to reality.
“This project shows a lot of partnerships,” McGrath explained during the project ribbon cutting in 2019. “We work all across the state and DeSoto County has the best planning and best long-range plans for themselves, and they work to find ways to get it done.”
The county did issue $5 million in bonds as part of the funding, but it comes without a tax increase.
When finished, Holly Springs Road should solve a dangerous situation for drivers dealing with high water lapping up to and over the road.
Former Supervisor Bill Russell pointed out the county has been dealing with flooding in the area for quite some time.
“It’s been since 1836, that’s 183 years ago,” said Russell. “We’re not going to fix the floods, but we’re going to get the road up. Being the only East-West corridor south of I-269, for the southern part of the county, Holly Springs Road provides critical access to the exploding development in this area.”
Russell added that 18 school buses use the road daily at last count.
Supervisor Mark Gardner stated at least $25 million for the project came from federal and state money. He added it is an investment in a growing DeSoto County.
“We are frugal with your tax dollar, but it’s the growth of the county,” said Gardner. “The fact is we’re building 1,300 new houses in this county this year. Taxes from new buildings and houses all help pay for the growth, but if we don’t do projects like this, it will stifle that growth.”