• Safety, efficiency highlight projects in MDOT’s District 2

    The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced a progress update on highway projects in District 2.

    “Construction projects in Coahoma, DeSoto, Marshall, Quitman, Tallahatchie and Tate Counties are moving forward,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “These projects are necessary for improving the safety and efficiency of our transportation infrastructure in North Mississippi.”

    State Route 6 Bridge Replacements in Coahoma and Quitman Counties

    Construction continues on the multi-bridge replacement project along State Route 6 between Batesville and Clarksdale.

    “This section of Highway 6 sees a great deal of agricultural traffic, especially during peak growing seasons,” Tagert said. “Replacing the bridges along this route is vital to the efficient movement of goods and services throughout the region.”

    The project includes 11 bridges being replaced: eight with new bridges, one with a box bridge and two with box culverts. Three of the bridge replacements are complete and back open to traffic along the mainline of State Route 6. Additionally, two bridges over the Tallahatchie River have been repaired under this contract. MDOT anticipates this project will be complete by fall 2017.

    Funding for this project was made available through funds from the passage of House Bill 1630, known as the “Gaming Bill,” during the 2015 Legislative Session.

    State Route 32 Bridge Replacements in Tallahatchie County

    This project will replace three bridges and several small drainage structures along Highway 32. The project also calls for the construction of a new bridge over the railroad just east of Webb. MDOT anticipates this project will be complete in fall 2018.

    A second project is also under construction to replace two bridges approximately two and a half miles west of Highway 35. MDOT expects this project to be complete in fall 2017.

    In early 2017, MDOT will let a third project to contract that will replace seven bridges along Highway 32. MDOT is finalizing the plans for this project, but no estimated completion date has been set. 

    “The 12 bridges that these three projects will replace have been repaired multiple times and are posted at 15 tons or less,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “These are steel beam bridges with timber pilings that were built in the late 1940s. Weather and wear and tear have made them a safety hazard for motorists.”

    Funding for these projects was also made available from the passage of the “Gaming Bill.”

    U.S. Highway 51 Coldwater River Bridge Replacement in Tate County

    Construction is progressing on the replacement of the U.S. Highway 51 Bridge over the Coldwater River in Tate County. The project will replace the existing 1,100-foot bridge with a new 2,000-foot bridge and raise the roadway by four feet to prevent future flooding. Currently, crews are driving new bridge pilings while continuing to finish dirt and drainage work.

    The bridge was originally scheduled for replacement in November 2016; however, damage sustained to the bridge during a March flood event caused MDOT to close the bridge and move the project timeline forward. MDOT closed the Coldwater River Bridge on March 11, and it will remain closed until the replacement project is complete.

    A signed detour route is in place directing motorists to use Interstate 55 between Hernando and Coldwater. MDOT anticipates the project will be complete in mid-winter 2017.

    Interstate 269 in DeSoto and Marshall Counties

    Construction of the Interstate 269 project is on schedule in North Mississippi. This is the largest active MDOT construction project in the state. Dirt and bridge work for the entire Interstate 269 corridor is complete. The next phase of the project involves two separate paving projects, the largest of which has been let to contract, and work has begun. The second paving project contract was awarded, but MDOT does not anticipate construction to start until early spring. MDOT expects Interstate 269 to be open for traffic in fall 2018.

    The first section of Interstate 269, from Mississippi 302 to the Tennessee state line in Marshall County, was opened to traffic on October 23, 2015.

    Work zones can present confusing and unfamiliar traffic patterns. For information on how to navigate a highway work zone safely, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.

    For more information about MDOT construction projects, visit MDOTtraffic.com, download the free MDOT Traffic mobile app, call Mississippi 511 or like and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Improved safety highlights projects in MDOT’s District One

    “The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced updates to several infrastructure improvement projects in the Northern Transportation District,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert. “The projects are located throughout District 1, including Monroe, Oktibbeha and Pontotoc counties, in the northeastern portion of the state and will greatly improve safety and mobility in the region.”

    Highway 12 Safety Improvements in Oktibbeha County

    MDOT has awarded a contract for a safety improvement project along the Highway 12 corridor in Starkville. The project is divided into two phases. The first phase will begin approximately one-quarter mile west of New Light Road and end at Eckford Drive. Phase two will begin at Eckford Drive and extend to Russell Street.

    This safety improvement project will remove the existing center turn lane along Highway 12 and replace it with a raised curb median. The traffic signals along Highway 12 will be replaced, and a new signal will be added in front of the Kroger. In addition, existing asphalt will be removed throughout the project and replaced with new asphalt, and the intersections of Stark Road, Industrial Park Road and Louisville Street will be widened.

    “The benefits of raised medians are numerous,” said MDOT District 1 Engineer Mark Holley. “Corridor traffic safety is increased by eliminating the number of potential collision points. Traffic flow is improved with the use of strategic median openings and traffic signal timing; and, there is also a reduced risk to city assets, such as law enforcement and other emergency responders.”

    Research shows that replacing continuous two-way left turn lanes with a raised median can, on average, reduce angle crashes by 36 percent, sideswipe crashes by 21 percent, rear-end crashes by 19 percent and head-on crashes by 47 percent.

    “In 2015 there were 322 crashes along the Highway 12 corridor through Starkville, giving it one of the highest traffic incident rates of any state-maintained highway north of Jackson,” Tagert said. “This project will greatly improve the safety of the corridor for students, residents and visitors to the area.”

    Other major projects in MDOT’s District 1 include the following.

    • Districtwide Intersection Improvement Project – This project will address approximately 100 intersections throughout the 16 counties in District 1. The intersections included in this project have seen higher numbers of traffic crashes over the last five years, according to crash report history from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The project will consist of signing, striping, delineation and warning improvements. Each new treatment was recommended by MDOT’s Traffic Engineering Division based on the crash history and traffic volume of the specific intersection in compliance with today’s standards.
    • New State Route 25 in Monroe County – Construction on the new two-lane section from just south of Becker to U.S. Highway 278 in Amory is scheduled for completion this summer. The majority of asphalt work has been completed, and the remaining work consists of placing new signs, striping and tying the new road into existing roads. MDOT has developed plans for two other sections north of U.S. Highway 278 in Amory; however, due to the current lack of available funding, there is no timeline for when construction on these additional sections will begin.
    • State Route 15 in Pontotoc County – Construction on the new lanes and bridges of State Route 15 from State Route 76 to the Union County line is scheduled for completion in late fall 2017. Construction of the new bridge over the Tanglefoot Trail is complete with the exception of adding handrails. Traffic impact will be minimal during the final stages of construction. A separate paving project is scheduled to take place once dirt work and bridge construction is complete, and MDOT anticipates this project to be let in late fall 2017.

    Construction zones present new traffic patterns and configurations that can cause confusion to some motorists. For information about how to navigate highway work zones safely, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.

    For more information about these or other MDOT construction projects, visit MDOTtraffic.com, call Mississippi 511, download the free MDOT Traffic app or like and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.

  • MDOT Enforcement Officers Continue Human Trafficking Training

    In continuing the fight against the increasing issue that is human trafficking, Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Enforcement Officers statewide recently participated in a human trafficking training led by Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) officials.

    Separate trainings were held in each of MDOT’s six districts to further teach officers how to identify and police potential human trafficking on state highways and at weigh stations. Officers were trained on ways to approach potential victims, what type of questions to ask them and what type of indicators to look for. Others items such as human trafficking terminology and recent case studies were also covered at each training.

    “As this issue continues to grow across the nation, it’s imperative that MDOT partners with organizations such as TAT to stay updated with the latest information possible to help uncover victims in Mississippi,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “These trainings offered a unique perspective that our officers really responded to and will greatly benefit from as we continue this fight against human trafficking.”

    In 2016 alone, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reported 40 cases of some form of human trafficking in Mississippi. Although many victims are not in one place long enough to form social connections, they are often transported throughout the country in commercial motor vehicles. Since 2007, the NHTRC has reported over 150 cases of some form of human trafficking in Mississippi.

    “Behind drug dealing, human trafficking is the fastest growing and most profitable criminal enterprise right now,” said Chief Willie Huff, MDOT Office of Enforcement director. “MDOT recognizes that members of the trucking industry are an invaluable asset in the fight against human trafficking and we want to make sure all of our officers know what to look for when encountering potential human trafficking situations.”

    MDOT is one of many agencies across the state and country that is recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Since 2015, in coordination with Gov. Phil Bryant’s Human Trafficking Task Force, all MDOT Enforcement Officers have been trained on how to identify and police human trafficking.

    “Training the MDOT Enforcement Officers was one of the most productive and enjoyable experiences I’ve had with TAT,” said TAT Deputy Director Kylla Lanier. “The officers were eager to learn the information and apply it to their work. We’re excited about our deepened relationship with Mississippi law enforcement and stand side by side with MDOT in their commitment to combat this heinous crime.”

    MDOT Officers were also given a unique perspective inside the ugly world of human trafficking. Beth Jacobs, a TAT field trainer and survivor leader, spoke about her personal experiences in human trafficking after being a victim for six years.

    “The response to Ms. Jacobs’ story was incredible and the questions the officers asked enabled us to dig deeper into some of the issues that impact a victim’s fear of asking for help,” Lanier said.

    Human trafficking affects individuals across the world and is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues today. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.

    To report information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888. Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at www.humantraffickinghotline.org or by emailing help@humantraffickinghotline.org. Participate in the discussion on social media by using the hashtag #endtrafficking.

  • MDOT moves forward with major infrastructure improvement projects in District Two

    The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced updates to several major infrastructure improvement projects in North Mississippi. The projects are spread throughout DeSoto, Coahoma, Marshall, Panola, Quitman and Tate Counties in the northwestern portion of the state, and will greatly improve safety and mobility in the region.

    U.S. Highway 51 Coldwater River Bridge Replacement in Tate County

    The replacement of the U.S. 51 Bridge over the Coldwater River was let to contract at the beginning of June 2016. The project will replace the existing 1,100 foot bridge with a new 2,000 foot bridge and raise the roadway by four feet to prevent future flooding. Crews have begun clearing the right-of-way along U.S. 51.

    “After the flooding event, our bridge inspection crews assessed the damage to the Coldwater River Bridge,” said MDOT District Two Engineer Mitch Turner. “Because of the damage sustained, MDOT made the decision to close the bridge and move the replacement project forward in order to keep the traveling public safe.”

    This bridge was originally scheduled for replacement in November 2016, however damage sustained to the bridge during a March flood event caused MDOT to close the bridge and move the project timeline forward. MDOT closed the Coldwater River Bridge on March 11, and it will remain closed until the replacement project is complete.

    A signed detour route is in place directing motorists to use Interstate 55 between Hernando and Coldwater. MDOT anticipates the project will be completed in spring 2018.

    “We realize that the detour route around this project is inconvenient to many motorists,” Tagert said. “However, the safety of the traveling public must be our top priority.”

    Another item tied to this contract is the rehabilitation of the Coldwater River Bridges along Interstate 55. This work will include removing patches in the bridge deck and placing a high friction surface treatment, which will give the bridge deck a new riding surface. MDOT expects this portion of work to be completed in early fall.

    Other major projects in MDOT’s District Two include:

    • Interstate 269 in DeSoto and Marshall Counties

    Construction of the Interstate 269 project continues and is on schedule in North Mississippi. The Interstate 269 project is the largest active MDOT construction project in the state. Dirt and bridge work for the entire Interstate 269 corridor has been completed. The next phase of the project involves two separate paving projects, the largest of which has been let to contract, and work has already begun. The second paving project is scheduled to be let in September. MDOT expects Interstate to be ready for traffic in the fall of 2018.

    The first section of Interstate 269, from Mississippi 302 to the Tennessee state line in Marshall County, was opened to traffic on October 23, 2015.

    • State Route 6/ U.S. Highway 278 Bridge Replacement in Coahoma, Quitman and Panola Counties

    MDOT has begun a project to replace and repair bridges along State Route 6/ U.S. Highway 278 between Clarksdale and Batesville in Coahoma, Quitman and Panola Counties. The project includes 11 bridges that will be replaced and two that will be repaired. The 13 bridges included in this project are on MDOT’s structurally deficient bridge list.

    Detour bridges and roads are currently being constructed. To date, crews have completed repairs on one of the bridges over the Tallahatchie River in Panola County. MDOT anticipates that the project will be completed in its entirety by mid-fall 2017.

    Funding for this project came from funds made available from the passage of the “Gaming Bill” during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session. This bill authorizes the use of state revenue bonds to provide $200 million in funds for the repair, rehabilitation, replacement, construction and reconstruction of bridges that are on MDOT’s structurally deficient bridge list, and other transportation-related projects.

    • Highway 328 Bridge Replacement Project in Lafayette County

    MDOT crews have completed the bridge replacement project on State Route 328 in Lafayette County. The existing bridge was removed and replaced with a new drainage structure. Crews will be removing the detour sites and completing the final dressing and grassing slopes in the construction area. Motorists are urged to continue to use caution while workers are present in the work zone.

  • Multimodal Grants Awarded for Northern Transportation District

    Commissioner Mike Tagert has announced grant awards for multimodal projects in Mississippi’s Northern Transportation District.

    “The projects these grants are funding will support existing jobs and create new opportunities for the citizens of North Mississippi, while also boosting the local economies,” said Tagert.

    The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) recently approved the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to award grants to regional and municipal airports, ports, public transit systems and railroads throughout north Mississippi.

    “MDOT’s responsibilities include maintaining and improving the state’s highways and interstates, but also focuses on providing a safe intermodal transportation network for airports, ports and waterways, railroads and public transit,” Tagert said. “Each of these modes of transportation plays a vital role in transporting people, goods and services that promote economic growth and development throughout Mississippi.”

    Funding for these multimodal grants comes from the Multimodal Transportation Improvement Fund. Money from this fund is allocated specifically to support multimodal grants each year. Grant applications, which include project details and funds requested, are reviewed and approved by a multimodal committee specific to each separate mode of transportation.

    Grants were approved for the following regional and municipal airports in North Mississippi.

    • $201,429- Corinth-Alcorn County Airport, Corinth: Enclose an existing hangar, including installation of a ground power unit.
    • $151,650- George M. Bryan Field, Starkville: Construct additional hangar apron space.
    • $272,303- Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Columbus: Construct an emergency medical helicopter response facility.
    • $34,670- Tupelo Regional Airport, Tupelo: Purchase an aircraft tug.

    Grants were approved for the following ports in North Mississippi.

    • $140,000- Lowndes County Port, Columbus: Construct 8,000 square foot warehouse.
    • $90,050- Port of Aberdeen: Construct rail spur.
    • $400,000- Port of Amory: Road improvements to expand Waterway Drive.
    • $490,050- Port Itawamba, Fulton: Dredging and debris removal.

    Grants were approved for the following railroads in North Mississippi:

    • $438,244- Mississippi Delta Railroad, Clarksdale: Upgrade rail from 85 pounds to 115 pounds from mile post 103 to mile post 103.5.
    • $391,545- Mississippian Railway, Inc., Fulton: Upgrade rail and switch to 115 pounds near the Amory Rail Yard.
  • Mississippi Transportation Commission Approves Interstate 22 Designation

    The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) has authorized the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to submit an application for approval to designate U.S. Highway 78 as Interstate 22 in North Mississippi.

    U.S. 78 was congressionally designated as a future interstate corridor and will connect to Interstate 269 in Mississippi once construction is complete. MDOT’s application to change U.S. 78 to I-22 will be sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for final approval.

    “As expansion and growth continue in North Mississippi, I-22 will play a vital role in promoting safety and economic development throughout the region,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “I-22 will connect local communities in Northeast Mississippi to the future I-269 corridor located in Marshall and Desoto counties.”

    Some concerns were raised about weight limits for harvest permitted loads when considering changing the designation of U.S. 78 to I-22. Those concerns were addressed this past December when President Obama signed the 2015 Fiscal Year Omnibus Appropriation Bill into law. Tagert worked with late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) to include language in the bill ensuring weight limits will not be lowered once the route designation is changed.

    “Agriculture is the number one industry in Mississippi, and without this bill, transport of these goods along I-22 would be severely crippled,” said Tagert. “This bill prevents weight limit changes that usually accompany a new interstate designation.”

    The process to designate an interstate is typically a lengthy one, but changes were introduced in the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) allowing states to request an interstate designation once the route meets federal standards and there are plans for the route to connect to the existing interstate system within 25 years. U.S. 78 meets these requirements. It was built to federal standards and connects to the existing interstate system in Tennessee.

  • MDOT Approves Faulkner Scenic Byway on Hwy. 30

    The Mississippi Department of Transportation has approved a portion of Mississippi Highway 30 to be named the William Faulkner Scenic Byway.

    The William Faulkner Scenic Byway label will apply to a stretch of Highway 30 from its intersection with County Road 14 in Union County and County Road 229 in Lafayette County.

    “This is a great way to pay tribute to an iconic Mississippian,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “The Faulkner Scenic Byway will showcase the beauty of this part of our state which inspired so many of Faulkner’s stories.”

    Click here to read the full article

  • Liking the Loop: Newly opened link to Barnes Crossing busy on first day

    TUPELO – The ceremonial opening of West Barnes Crossing Road on Thursday morning became a celebration of its economic potential, convenience and cooperation in building it by five speakers who wrapped up the $30 million, multiyear project in less than 25 minutes.

    And the traffic began flowing immediately after that.

    The five-lane road – built as part of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program, with essential financial participation by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and federal sources – runs about five miles from the McCullough Boulevard/Coley Road intersection to U.S. Highway 45 east of the Barnes Crossing commercial district.

    Major Thoroughfare Committee chairman Greg Pirkle presided at the ribbon-cutting, and he praised the new road, known as the Northern Loop, as one of the best opportunities for “economic growth” and an “improved quality of life.”

    Click here to read the full article

  • MDOT: Work on I-269 is on schedule, several phases at halfway point

    NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI — The Mississippi Department says construction continues on schedule for the I-269 project in North Mississippi.

    All phases of the project are under construction with several more than halfway complete. Contractors continue earthwork and bridge construction, while paving operations on one section of the project, from SR 302 to the Tennessee state line in Marshall County, began earlier this summer.

    I-269 in Mississippi is composed of seven individual projects that total approximately 25 miles of four-lane highway in DeSoto and Marshall counties. Construction on this over $640 million interstate project began in 2011. This project is made available by the sale of H.E.L.P. bonds.

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  • Construction Continues Along I-269 in North Miss.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Construction continues on schedule for the I-269 project in North Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

    All phases of the project are under construction with several more than halfway complete.

    I-269 in Mississippi is composed of seven individual projects that total approximately 25 miles of four-lane highway in Desoto and Marshall Counties. Construction on this over $640 million interstate project began in 2011 and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015.

    “As expansion and growth continue, I-269 will be vital in promoting economic growth and development,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “It will also provide a valuable means for commercial vehicles to move raw materials and manufactured goods through the region.”

    Once completed, I-269 will form a 30-mile loop around Memphis through Mississippi and Tennessee. In Mississippi, I-269 will begin at the I-55/I-69 intersection north of Hernando, cross Highway 78 near Byhalia and continue northeast to the Tennessee state line. The bypass will relieve traffic pressure on the I-55/I-69 corridor and connect I-40 and I-55 in North Mississippi. I-40 is a major cross-country freight route, and I-69 will be an international connector between Canada and Mexico.

    “This is more than just a bypass around Memphis,” said Tagert. “The construction of I-269 will transform the region by connecting local communities in several states and will have far-reaching international implications.”

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