MDOT gives update on South Miss. road projects

MDOT gives update on South Miss. road projects
A $24.2 million construction project is underway on Interstate 59 at State Route 42 in Forrest County. (Source: MDOT)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King provided an updated Friday on Mississippi Department of Transportation projects in south Mississippi.

“The projects underway are geared towards two major things, improving safety and economic impact,” King said in a news release. "As the population grows throughout the southern district, we continue work on projects that will increase the quality of life and decrease traffic hazards.”

One project moving forward is the approximately $24.2 million interchange construction project on Interstate 59 at State Route 42 in Forrest County. The project consists of reconfiguring entrance and exit ramps at the Evelyn Gandy Parkway exit on Interstate 59 and adding two frontage roads on each side of the interstate.

“After taking a closer look at this area, we realized with the amount of people using the existing bridge and exit ramps already in place, traffic was becoming increasingly worse,” said Melinda McGrath, MDOT executive director. “With the construction of this interchange, MDOT can ensure people get to their destinations quicker and safer.”

The project was awarded to Dunn Roadbuilders LLC.

Earthwork is currently underway for the South East Frontage Road with workers clear trees from the area. Crews are also working on the east overpass retaining wall. The project is estimated to be completed in spring 2021.

Another Pine Belt project moving forward is intersection improvements on U.S. Highway 49 at State Route 42 West in Forrest County, where construction recently began to add a stop light and improve driving conditions.

Crews will also realign State Route 42 West to match with the rest of the road located across the highway, according to MDOT.

“Sumrall is growing rapidly, and many people use SR 42 West to get to and from work each day, but this influx of commuters causes frequent backups,” said King. “We want to prevent these unwanted backups, and after much research we have determined adding a light is the best option to clear up congestion.”

Work on the $3 million project began in August and many trees have been cleared from the area. The contract was awarded to T.L. Wallace Construction Inc. and is expected to be completed in fall 2020.

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