Extension of South Frontage Road the key to development

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2017

After about 20 years of discussion and studies, is the South Frontage Road extension finally on the fast track toward construction?

It would seem that way after the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the acquisition of the last piece of right of way for the project, which will extend the west side of South Frontage east across the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks. The project has been called “a game changer” by Mayor George Flaggs Jr., and is seen as the key to further development along South Frontage Road, and the start of construction for the proposed water park on the east side of the road that is expected to open in 2019.

But the project has dragged along much slower than it should have. Part of the reason involved the effort of the city and the engineering firm it hired to get Mississippi Department of Transportation approval to relocate city utilities along the state’s right of way on South Frontage Road.

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But the days of dealing with MDOT are over. The state agency has approved the permits, allowing the city to put its utilities on the state’s easement. The city now has to get approval from the Mississippi Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Quality before it can finally go out for bids to move the water, gas and sewer lines to make for construction.

We hope the process for approval by these state agencies moves much faster than the efforts to get MDOT’s OK.

The South Frontage Road expansion is a major project that can enhance economic development along East Clay Street. It can lead to a rejuvenation of the Outlets at Vicksburg and open other property to development. It’s a shame we have taken way too long to get such an important economic development project like the frontage road extension so close to being underway.

The state and city should not delay it any longer; the rights of way are secured and the project is ready to go out for bids.

The remaining state agencies need to give their approval and the construction needs to begin as soon as possible.

We have reached the point where the time for excuses is over. It’s time for everyone to get together and move forward to complete this project. Let’s get it done.