Highway construction project slated for 2022 completion

November 16, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi highway construction project has been ongoing for four years this month after being set back by a series of delays.

Mississippi Department of Transportation crews started working on a 7.5-mile section of Highway 49 between Richland and Florence in November 2017, WAPT-TV reports. Crews are widening the highway from two lanes in each direction to three.

“It was probably the worst highway in the state of Mississippi, as far as the smoothness and the congestion down here,” project engineer Brian Ratliff told the television station.

The original completion date was August 2020. That has now been pushed back to summer 2022. Engineers said there have been a number of challenges, including extreme weather, like the ice storm that hit the region last February.

“We have a limited amount of right-of-way. We had a lot of utilities we had to work around. We have a lot of traffic running up and down the road,” Ratliff said.

The cost of the project is $253 million, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.