HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s been a long time coming, but plans for an overpass in Hattiesburg have officially begun.
The city announced that after receiving a federal grant for $5.39 million, they’ll be adding another $6.6 million to build a Hall Avenue overpass.
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker was present for the announcement and speaks on how the overpass affects the city’s economy.
“The very thing that helped build Hattiesburg’s economy which was the rail traffic had become more and more a threat to the economy,” said Wicker.
While waiting for the train to pass can be an inconvenience for most, the city noted their main concern was first responders being able to move quickly throughout Hattiesburg, something that can’t be done if a train is stuck on the tracks.
Barker says he’s not done with improving infrastructure near the railroad tracks.
“We go after transportation grants every year but fixing the train issue has been the ultimate priority,” said Barker. “If our downtown is going to move forward, we have to do it.”
Barker specifically mentioned the Norfolk Southern railroad crossing farther down Hall Avenue as another spot he wants to an overpass.
As for what this does for the city, Barker says that this decision will “revolutionize our downtown.”
Construction on the overpass is expected to begin in sometime in 2021 as the overpass is still in its design stage.