• Marine highways – what are they?

    When asked to describe a highway most people will tend to describe a roadway that they drive their automobile on. But, did you know that there are other types of highways?

    “America’s Marine Highway System consists of the nation’s navigable waterways,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “These waterways play an important role in the logistics, safety and economic development of our state, and our nation.”

    Marine highways are navigable waterways that have been designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and have the ability to provide additional capacity to relieve congested landside routes serving freight and passenger movement.

    “Each marine highway has a corridor designation that reflects the congested landside route it parallels,” Tagert said.

    In Mississippi, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is designated as M-65 because it is parallel to Interstate 65 in Alabama. The Mississippi River is designated as M-55 because of its relationship to Interstate 55.

    “These marine highway designations are important because they provide ways for goods and services to be moved from Mississippi throughout the region, and even internationally,” Tagert said. “Marine highways also reduce the number of heavy commercial vehicles traveling on our highways, which also increases safety for the traveling public.”

    The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has installed signs throughout the state to show the marine highway designations of these navigable waterways. Motorists will notice the M-65 signs in northeast Mississippi at four Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Crossings: U.S. Highway 72, U.S. Highway 45, U.S. Highway 82 and Interstate 22.

    Additionally, signs for M-55 will be installed at four Mississippi River crossings throughout the state.

    For more information about Mississippi’s Marine Highway system, visit GoMDOT.com.

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