April 8, 2009
JACKSON -- Work may soon begin on improvements to Highway 45 in Lowndes and Noxubee counties, as the state contracts with road builders to start highway projects being paid for by federal economic stimulus funds.
Highway 45 is among the highways the state Department of Transportation selected to get a share of $240 million provided in February by the U.S. Congress and President Obama to help stimulate the economy. The state last month began awarding contracts.
Poorhouse Road in Oktibbeha County is also up for getting a slice of the federal funds.
The Mississippi Transportation Commission on March 25 awarded a $12.3 million contract to overlay about 35 miles of U.S. 45 from Brooksville to the Kemper County line, according to MDOT records.
The commission delayed awarding a contract to four-lane about five miles of U.S. 45 in Lowndes County going south from U.S. 82. This project is estimated to cost about $21 million.
MDOT has listed several road-improvement projects throughout the state to fund with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
About one mile of Poorhouse Road in Oktibbeha County is listed among the ARRA projects. It''s to get pavement and two bridges replaced at a projected cost of about $1.6 million.
Using the ARRA funds for these "shovel-ready" projects, MDOT expects to have all their construction contracts awarded by June, said Executive Director Butch Brown. Combined with regular federally funded road-improvement ventures, Mississippi will have about $800 million in new highway-construction projects under way by October, he said.
MDOT is receiving $354 million from ARRA, with about $240 million of that directly for road building and the rest for other transportation projects, Brown said.