Transportation funds headed to Warren, Claiborne counties

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2002

[02/06/02]Warren County will get nearly $1 million and Claiborne will get $8 million in transportation funds allocated by Congress in December.

Claiborne’s money, funneled through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, is for construction of a road to provide easier access to the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station north of Port Gibson. The total price tag for the road is $10 million. The remaining $2 million will have to be raised by the county.

The proposed road will extend from U.S. 61 north of Port Gibson to the Port of Claiborne County on the Mississippi River. It will leave U.S. 61 near Mississippi 18 and terminate near Bald Hill Road. The precise route has yet to be determined.

Part of Warren County’s money, $500,000, will help the county replace the present boat and barge for the Kings Point Ferry with an improved one, said John McKee, county engineer.

“We want to get rid of that cable if we can,” McKee said.

Monday, he received authorization from the Warren County Board of Supervisors to seek a consultant to help write the specifications so the county can advertise for bids.

That all has to happen soon, McKee said. “We have to have that money committed by the end of September.”

Kings Point is land northwest of downtown Vicksburg that is cut off from the rest of the county by the Yazoo Diversion Canal. The existing cable-guided ferry provides the only link for farmers, hunters and timber crews that own or lease most of the island.

The other portion of the county’s share is $400,000 for a study of the feasibility of adding another 80 acres to the E.W. Haining Industrial Center, said Jimmy Heidel, executive director of the Warren County Port Commission.

The Port of Vicksburg and industrial land, known as the Harbor Project, was built in the early 1960s to create sites with access to the Mississippi River. It was supposed to fill up in 25 years, but all sites were taken in 15. Another slack water harbor canal was dredged toward the north from the west end of the original park and a few more acres of flood-free industrial land was built up. That has now been filled.

“What will probably happen is that MDOT will contract with the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers for the study since they are involved in the river, the environment and permits anyway,” Heidel said.

Tentatively, the extension will be built north from the earlier extension.