New recreational opportunities on Longleaf Trail in 2016

New recreational opportunities on Longleaf Trail in 2016

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The upcoming new year will bring with it new opportunities for recreation for South Mississippi residents on the Longleaf Trace.

Work is ongoing on Phase III of the project, which will link the Southern Miss Gateway to Main Street.

It should be finished by the end of January.

And next year, city officials say bids will be taken for work on another portion of the Longleaf Trace, which will join the Train Depot to Chain Park.

Federal funds administered through the Mississippi Department of Transportation are helping fund some of this new work.

"People for a long time have been waiting on this connection with the Rails to Trails into downtown Hattiesburg," said Johnny Dupree, mayor of Hattiesburg. "We've had the spokes, if you will, but the connector piece was not there and this is the connector piece that actually puts it all together."

"Rails to trails is certainly a great program, they're doing a great job," said Tom King, southern district transportation commissioner. "This will be one of the longest trails, if not the longest trail, once they extend it, in the State, so we're proud to be part of it."

Dupree said bids for the next phase should be taken in the first quarter of 2016.