HERNANDO, MS (AP) Mississippi transportation officials said construction on Interstate 69 between Hernando and Tunica began April 7 and they are preparing to speed up funding for a companion project that runs into Tennessee.
The contractor, APAC Tennessee, was given that start date for a $53.8 million contract for 20 miles of concrete highway, said district engineer Jimmy Dickerson of MDOT’s Batesville office.
“They’re going to start on the west end and work their way east,” he said.
The contractor’s plan is to build lanes in one direction first, so that those lanes can then carry construction traffic to complete the lanes in the other direction.
APAC officials hope to do about half the paving by the end of this year.
The contractor is restricted from working on the east end of the project until construction of the interchange of I-69 and I-55 is completed sometime in August.
Meanwhile, DeSoto County officials are looking to speed up funding for a companion project, Interstate 269 from Hernando east into Marshall County and north into Tennessee.
An environmental study, commissioned by transportation officials in Mississippi and Tennessee, is being conducted on one of three alternative routes for the suburban offshoot of I-69. The cost of construction has been estimated at $170 million.
DeSoto County supervisors want to see if they can take advantage of a state program that allows local governments to build roads with bonds guaranteed by future federal and state highway funding.
Tunica County issued $45 million in bonds to pay for I-69, and Marshall County has approved a similar approach to funding that county’s section of I-269.
The I-69 is a 1,600-mile interstate highway that will connect the Canadian border in Michigan to the Mexican border in Texas. It will traverse the midsection of the country through Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. At present only the section between Port Huron, Mich. and Indianapolis has been completed.