Interstate 20 road construction is a great investment in crucial economic engine

Published 9:58 am Friday, November 4, 2016

The Mississippi Department of Transportation, long criticized for just about anything and everything, today should be complimented.

The work going on along the portion of Interstate 20 in Vicksburg, overseen by MDOT, is going a long way toward create a welcoming driving experience to the millions of people who drive to and through Vicksburg each and every year.

The repaving and striping of the lines and, in some cases, small reconfiguring of on ramps and off ramps, has made drives — long bemoaned by local residents — somewhat better.

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We will all admit though, the process of road construction, especially along a tremendously busy stretch of interstate, at times can be frustrating.

Long and timely back-ups have occurred as milling and paving work were done. But thankfully, some of the most invasive work to traffic around the interstate exits, was done at night, limiting the impact to many of us.

For many residents, the interstate is a quick option to and from work, church or the store, beating many of the routes that include some of Vicksburg’s trademark meandering roads.

But we forget too just how important the quality of roads is for economic development, industrial recruitment and day-to-day business.

Interstate 20 is one of the main thoroughfares in our nation, providing one of the few complete east-to-west routes across the country.

All you have to do is spend a few minutes just watching the interstate to get an idea of just how many trucks make use of the route.

The continued upkeep and development of our interstate system is crucial to economic development and Vicksburg is blessed to have such access.

What other cities the size of Vicksburg can provide potential and existing industries access to a main interstate, rail lines, two airports and, of course, the Mississippi River? The list is very short.

So while MDOT receives, and at times deserves criticism, today we thank them and their partners for their work in Vicksburg. We know the job is never really done, but this one has been a job well done.