$18M in federal dollars headed for Grand Gulf Road, other sites

Published 11:10 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nearly $18 million in federal highway money is headed to Claiborne, Jefferson and Franklin counties to improve roads and bridges.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has green-lighted $17.8 million from the TIGER VI grant program to finance repairs to roads and crossings in the three counties, plus upgrades to evacuation routes from Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, according to a release Wednesday from U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker.

Funding is to support the collaborative Three-County Roadway Improvements Program for Southwest Mississippi. Alcorn State University was a fourth co-signer on the grant application. The three counties and the university qualify as a rural area for the purposes of the grant program and no local match is required.

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Improvements could include 40 miles of roads near the power plant and paving the farm road at ASU’s main campus, according to the website of WGK Inc., an engineering and surveying firm with bases in Clinton and Brookhaven that has done work for the counties and ASU. The company estimated the work would wrap up by September 2015.

Roads in Claiborne County identified on the company’s site as being a target of TIGER funds include Grand Gulf Road, Rodney Road and Old Port Gibson Road. Twenty-two bridges are to be improved with the money, all of which are in Jefferson and Franklin counties.

The program, an acronym for Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery, was created in 2009 from the federal stimulus legislation. In 2014, it is expected to be the funding source for $740 million in infrastructure projects nationwide.

The program was tapped by the Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2011 to pay for traffic advisory signs along Interstate 20 in Vicksburg. Signs near Indiana Avenue and the Mississippi River bridge were put up earlier this year.