Mississippi Takes First Steps To Widen I-55

(Nesbit, MS) Interstate 55 narrows down to a slim two lanes right at Goodman Road.

That design often creates a bottleneck, especially when a big event down the road at the Lander’s Center draws more cars on the highway.

People like Dale Martin say the traffic keeps them off the highway.

”It’s congested, bad. The worst time of day? Well, I don’t go to Memphis very much but when I do, I try to make it at night-time or early in the morning.”

That’s why the Mississippi Department of Transportation has begun the very earliest stages of adding new lanes to Interstate 55, all the way from Goodman Road to North Hernando.

”What we’re doing now is, very preliminary. It’s a couple of contracts to consulting and engineering firms to develop the Right of Way plan,” said District Engineer Mitch Turner.

He says that’s the first step, paving the way for actual construction down the road.

The expansion plan will eventually connect with I-69 and 269 just north of Hernando, and eventually ease new traffic arriving from east and west on the new highway due for completion in 2017.

Turner says it could take years to turn the first shovel of dirt, but it’s a notable development.

“It’s a step in the right direction. It all depends on money. It’s gonna depend on money and priorities in the state.”

But with traffic growing here every day, drivers here say any progress at all gives them something to look forward to.

”It would that make my trip easier, it sure would, yes, it’d be a lot better,” said Martin.

Even if it takes years to get started, he says at least he knows the problem has the state’s attention.