• Old Taylor Road now open to traffic

    BATESVILLE, MISS.—The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announces that Old Taylor Road in Oxford is open to traffic. While there is still minor work to be completed on the project, all major construction has been completed and the new four-lane road is ready for public use.

    The new traffic configuration on Old Taylor Road will better accommodate increased traffic as the University of Mississippi begins fall classes. The roundabouts will relieve congestion on the Old Taylor Road bridge during peak hours, provide better access for motorists entering or exiting State Route 6 and give pedestrians and cyclists a safer route across the bridge.

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  • MDOT Law Enforcement officers show off tools to keep trucks, highways safe

    TUPELO – Law enforcement from the Mississippi Department of Transportation showed the tools they use to help maintain Mississippi’s highways and keep drivers safe during a demonstration at the BancorpSouth Arena on Thursday.

    Drivers often confuse MDOT Law Enforcement officers and patrol cars with Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers, but the No. 1 concern for MDOT officers is commercial vehicle safety.

    “We want people to know exactly what that MDOT Law Enforcement officer they see is doing and why because we certainly think if the public is aware of what we’re doing and why then the public will be much more supportive,” said Mike Tagert, Northern District Transportation commissioner. “Our road and bridge system represents the largest public asset that we have in our state. It’s important not only for public safety, but also general movement of commerce so the rules and regulations these men and women enforce lead to safety and savings for all of us.”

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  • Turning a Waterway into an Economic Lifeline

    Connecting the Port of Mobile to the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio rivers, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is more than a modern engineering wonder. It is a lifeline of economic opportunity for the South, as companies that make their living off the region’s natural resources invest at a record pace along this man-made marvel.

    Completed in 1984, just one month after President Ronald Reagan’s re-election, the US$2-billion waterway project included 10 locks and dams, a 175-foot-deep (53.1-meter-deep) canal connecting the Tennessee River with the Tombigbee River watershed, and 234 miles (377 km.) of navigation channels.

    Today, the waterway is considered one of the most energy-efficient trade routes in North America. It connects 18 states and 14 river systems totaling some 4,500 miles (7,242 km.) of navigable waterways serving a large swath of southern and middle America.

    The payback for this massive public works project that was 12 years in the making is now coming in droves, says Mike Tagert, administrator for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority in Columbus, Miss.

    “The past five years have seen probably as much direct total investment along the Tenn-Tom as in all the years previously,” says Tagert, noting that steel industry investment along the Tenn-Tom has totaled more than $5 billion since 2003. “Severstal Columbus alone has invested a total of $1.3 billion in its steel plant, bringing 450 jobs, the majority paying over $70,000 per year. That’s a tremendous impact in a region like this.”

    The Columbus mini-mill opened in 2007 on 1,400 acres (567 hectares). The company’s phase-two expansion, now underway, will upgrade the Mississippi plant from 1.7 million tons (1.6 million metric tons) to 3.4 million tons (3.1 million metric tons) per year. Severstal can ship products directly from the plant by rail, road or barge.

    Multi-modal access to multiple trade and supply routes is the primary selling point of the waterway to industrial end-users, says Tagert. “It is a critical link. Without the Tenn-Tom, you would not have the link between the Gulf of Mexico ports and the inland waterways of the Ohio, Mississippi and Tennessee rivers,” he says. “We are directly linked to the Port of Mobile. As the Port of Mobile goes, so goes the Tenn-Tom Waterway.”

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  • Delta Bluffs Scenic Byway paves road to history and tourism

    HERNANDO, Miss. — In DeSoto County, marker signs now indicate how three segments of road have been officially turned into the new Delta Bluffs Scenic Byway.
    Mike Tagert is the Mississippi Transportation Commissioner in the Northern District.

    “We have many natural resources and scenic resources in DeSoto County. It’s important that we exploit it,” Tagert said.

    It’s part of the Mississippi Scenic Byways program, which designates highways, roads and certain street corners in an effort to preserve the history around them at very little cost to the county.

    Lee Caldwell is president of the Desoto County Board of Supervisors.

    “If we don’t protect our greenways, we won’t have it for our children. So, it’s very important to have awareness and protect our greenways,” Caldwell said.

    Delta Bluffs Scenic Byway will have three segments: the northern, southern, and east-west branch.

    Chip Johnson is the mayor of Hernando. He said the goal is to also showcase another side of Desoto County to tourists.

    “When you’re on vacation, you don’t want to be on an interstate, you’d much rather be on a scenic byway and Delta Bluff Byway is one of the most beautiful in the entire state. It’s going to bring people through,” Johnson said.

    A corridor advocacy group will manage and develop a long-term plan for the bypass in hopes of preserving history and paving the way for increased tourism by those hoping to see another side of Desoto County.

    “You’ll see the native flowers and trees. You’ll see some wild animals. You’ll see some homes that have been kept up for generations and see some waterways and natural attractions that we have to offer,” Caldwell said.

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  • Double roundabout project to get underway next week

    OXFORD — The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is set to begin a double roundabout project at Old Taylor Road in Oxford.

    RoundaboutThe project will construct a double roundabout at the Old Taylor Road and Highway 6 intersection. There will be one roundabout on either side of the Old Taylor Road Bridge over Highway 6.

    The purpose of the project is to relieve congestion on the Old Taylor Road Bridge during peak hours and to provide better access for motorists entering or exiting Highway 6. The dual roundabout layout provides a continuous flow of traffic at each end of the bridge and decreases the delay in time between stops. Another major component to the project will be widening the Old Taylor Road Bridge to accommodate four-lanes of traffic and a protected eight-foot sidewalk for pedestrians.

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  • MDOT service gives up-to-date traffic information

    JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) — The Mississippi Department of Transportation says its launched its new voice recognition travel information service for residents and travelers across the state.

    MDOT says, by dialing 511, drivers now have access to free, 24-hour information on weather-related road conditions, construction sites, travel times and other traffic information for all Interstates, and select US highways and State Routes.

    “Mississippi 511 offers travelers easy access to information valuable for both pre-trip planning and en route decision making,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert.

    The system uses an interactive voice response system with speech recognition as its primary interface with callers, allowing for hands free operation.

    Through Mississippi 511’s “My Commute,” feature, travelers can also receive personalized travel information for predefined routes. Callers can set up their “My Commute” route by creating a user account at MDOTtraffic.com and defining their route.

    Officials says the system will also be used by as a resource to travelers during evacuations and other emergencies.

    Currently, Mississippi 511 is not available to Verizon customers.

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  • Panama Canal Partnership with Tenn-Tom Waterway

    The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway provides a myriad of benefits to industries and companies including

    • Abundant natural resources, including coal, oil and gas, minerals, and forests;
    • Trained labor force with a strong work ethic;
    • Lower energy costs and other similar measures that reduce production costs;
    • Full range of competitive transportation services; and
    • An enviable quality of life.

    Benefits of Shipping On the Tenn-Tom

    The economic benefits of using the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for the transportation of raw materials, bulk products, and finished products include

    • lower costs,
    • an expanded market,
    • safer and reliable transport of goods,
    • energy efficiency,
    • and environmental compatibility

    Learn more about why companies should use the waterway for transporting goods.

    Waterway Industrial Sites

    One distinct advantage the Tenn-Tom Waterway corridor has over other regions is the availability of over 40,000 acres of prime waterfront property with affordable development costs and minimal environmental restrictions. Some 40 sites, conveniently located throughout a 54-county, 4-state region, are ready for business.

    For more information, please visit http://tenntom.org/

  • Administrator Touts Tenn-Tom Waterway’s Impact

    Columbus has done a good job in using the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to benefit industry and other elements, said Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority Administrator Mike Tagert.
    Tagert was the guest speaker at Wednesday”s meeting of the Columbus Kiwanis Club, which met at the Columbus Country Club.
    Columbus has done a good job of recruiting projects for the waterway. They have done a good job of promoting the waterway, an continue to do so,” he said.
    One asset of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is that it is a reliable transport route. Unlike the Mississippi River, which has occasionally had to close to barge traffic because of low waters, Tagert said that hasn”t been the case with the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
    “In 1988, when the Mississippi had to close its barge traffic because of low waters, the waterway was a viable alternative route to the Mississippi and kept plants in the Ohio Valley and midwestern states supplied with essential raw materials needed for continued operations until the Mississippi could be navigable again,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=5334#ixzz38n2bfqUS

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