MDOT Press Release:
Southaven, Miss. – Northwest Mississippi and DeSoto County is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) recognizes the important role infrastructure plays in economic development.
“As population growth continues, DeSoto County’s infrastructure needs must be expanded,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “MDOT is planning projects that will ensure the traveling public has a transportation network to get them where they are going in a safe and timely manner.”
MDOT is currently developing plans that will increase the capacity of the Interstate 55 corridor to meet the growing transportation infrastructure needs in DeSoto County and throughout the region. These plans include two individual projects that will add additional lanes to Interstate 55.
“Using a travel demand model for this area to estimate vehicle hours per day with and without these projects, and an average wage rate for DeSoto County from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these projects have the potential to save drivers approximately $60,000 per day in wages when complete and open to traffic, and over $200,000 per day by 2035,” Tagert said.
The first project will widen Interstate 55 from Church Road north to State Route 302 in Southaven. The proposed plan will add one new lane in each direction in the median and two new lanes in each direction on the outside of existing Interstate 55. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2018. Once completed, this section of Interstate 55 will be 10 lanes. This project will also improve the interchange at Church Road.
The second project will widen Interstate 55 from Church Road south to Commerce Street in Hernando. This project will also include a new interchange at Star Landing Road. The proposed project will add one new lane in each direction in the median and one new lane in each direction on the outside of existing Interstate 55 from Interstate 269 to Church Road, and one new lane in each direction in the median from Interstate 269 to Commerce Street. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2019. Once completed, Interstate 55 will be six lanes from Interstate 269 to Commerce Street and eight lanes from Interstate 269 to Church Road.
The cost of these two construction projects is currently estimated to be $164 million combined. While MDOT anticipates beginning these two projects in 2018 and 2019, respectively, those dates depend heavily on the availability of state and federal funding.
“We have been blessed with rapid economic growth in Desoto County, and while we have enjoyed this success, it brings challenges with transportation infrastructure. We are so thankful for MDOT’s diligence in providing solutions to these challenges,” said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite. “In a perfect world, we would have liked to have these much-needed projects completed now, but understand the difficulty created by funding contingencies. Traffic will obviously be a problem in the short-term and we ask for patience and cooperation from our local residents and visitors as we work with MDOT to optimize transportation efficiency and safety.”
The construction of Interstate 269 will also aid in improving and upgrading the transportation infrastructure of DeSoto County. Scheduled for fall 2018 completion, Interstate 269 will relieve traffic pressure along the Interstate 55 corridor, and connect local communities throughout the region.
“MDOT wishes to be a partner and to be supportive of the growth and development taking place in North Mississippi,” Tagert said. “These plans will not only address the needs of the region but also improve Mississippi’s transportation network as a whole.”
For more information about MDOT construction projects, visit www.MDOTtraffic.com, download the MS Traffic Mobile App or call 511.