Bids expected to go out on South Frontage project in 2019

Published 8:04 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Mississippi Department of Transportation expects to advertise for bids on the South Frontage Road extension project in 2019.

City attorney Nancy Thomas said state officials indicated they could go out for bids to link the road in the first part of the year.

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“The utility (relocation) project is almost finished,” she said.

The announcement came after the Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign an agreement with the MDOT Commission giving the state an easement over the city streets that go from Berryman Road to the Outlets at Vicksburg to extend the eastern section of South Frontage Road to join the road’s western side.

“I’m telling you, the developers are waiting on this road,” Flaggs said.

“I’ve worked on this 20-25 years,” said Margaret Gilmer, Warren County Port Commission president and former outlet mall manager. “It wasn’t about the road to the outlet mall. It was about a road that connected us to the South Frontage Road for economic development purposes.

“It’s going to be one of the greatest economic development tools, that we can have on that side of town to connect us from Clay Street to Halls Ferry Road,” Gilmer said. “When we get the sports complex in, it will be a free flow of traffic through there to the hotels. It needed to happen.”

Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said the extension will also benefit public safety.

Extending South Frontage Road has been under discussion for about 20 years.

In 2007, a Federal Highway Administration study issued a “finding of no significant impact,” clearing the way for the project. Four years later, in 2011, the Mississippi Department of Transportation bought five properties along the road to secure rights of way for the project, and in April 2014, the Legislature approved $4 million in its fiscal 2015 highway budget to begin planning the South Frontage Road expansion and later added another $14 million.

The board in April awarded a $1.576 million bid to relocate the utility lines along South Frontage Road to Hemphill Construction of Florence. The utilities relocation, which was the final phase before the extension project could start, was approved by the state in June.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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