JACKSON, Miss. — 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.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.