Laurel S-curve construction project wins peoples choice award

JACKSON, MISS., Sunday, October 31, 2010---The Laurel S-Curve reconstruction project has been named winner of the People's Choice Award in the national America's Transportation Award competition, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced today.

The project received more than 270,000 votes by people of Mississippi, who delivered a landslide victory in the contest, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The Laurel S-Curve was named a regional winner of the America's Transportation Award in August,, and competed for other regional winners across the U.S. for the People's Choice Award.

"The purpose of this competition was to increase awareness and support of transportation, and Mississippi has demonstrated a keen appreciation for the role of highways and bridges in our everyday life," said Larry L. "Butch" Brown, MDOT Executive Director and former President of AASHTO. "Thank you to all who voted, and a special thank you to the men and women who were on the front lines of this project, guiding it through a long development process to successful completion."

MDOT reconstructed and realigned a 3,700-foot segment of I-59 through Laurel, Mississippi, eliminating the notorious Laurel S-curve, which had one of the highest crash rates in the state. The reconstructed segment crosses six local streets and the Norfolk Southern Railroad, requiring a 1,980-foot-long, six-lane bridge, along with a total of 1,350 feet of elevated ramp structures, two on-ramps, and one off-ramp.

Reconstruction of the Laurel S-curve began in July 2006 and was completed in September 2009. The project dramatically improved safety, smoothed traffic flow, was responsive to the needs of the community, and ultimately was delivered under budget. In fact, design changes, proactive coordination, and innovative financing produced a budget surplus of $6 million, which is being used to widen five additional I-59 bridges and two additional miles of roadway north of the S-curve.