Study clears way to extend road to Factory Outlets|[06/21/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 21, 2007

A required study has cleared plans to extend South Frontage Road over Kansas City Southern tracks, leaving design and funding as obstacles to construction.

The Federal Highway Administration finding of &#8220no significant impact” was greeted with enthusiasm by an official of Vicksburg Factory Outlets, which would gain a second access.

&#8220We think the decision is fantastic – another step in the direction of making the road a reality,” said Margaret Gilmer, general manager.

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The project, under discussion for at least 15 years, would extend the road from its ending point at Old Highway 27 near Watkins’ Nursery, across the rail right-of-way and to outlet mall area.

As proposed, there would be a bridge costing approximately $15 million over the tracks.

Traffic to the outlet center must now enter from East Clay Street. The extension would provide a thru route from South Frontage to Clay.

The report followed a Feb. 13 public hearing seeking public opinion on the extension, which was favorable.

Mississippi Department of Transportation Central District Commissioner Dick Hall said until construction funds are found, no time line can be set.

&#8220We have received help from Congress before, so we’re hopeful to get some help again,” he said.