South Frontage Road extension open to traffic in Vicksburg
Published 4:18 pm Friday, January 14, 2022
After more than 20 years, the east and west sections of South Frontage Road are connected and open to traffic.
“We opened it about 10 this morning,” Eric Morgan, Mississippi Department of Transportation project engineer for the South Frontage extension said Friday.
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. called opening a great day for Vicksburg and noted that the opening came one week after Margaret Gilmer’s funeral procession cross the bridge on Jan. 7. Gilmer, who died on Jan. 2, was a major force in the push to link the east and west sides of South Frontage Road.
“Margaret Gilmer lobbied and worked hard to get that bridge and link both sides of South Frontage Road,” he said. “I truly hope the Legislature will dedicate this bridge after her.”
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Jan. 3 passed a resolution asking that the bridge be named after Gilmer.
Linking both sides of South Frontage Road, Flaggs said, will open the East Clay Street area to more retail and restaurants “and I plan to work with the chamber of commerce and other economic development organizations to make that happen.”
The South Frontage Road extension has been discussed for more than 20 years.
In 2007, a Federal Highway Administration study on the project issued a “finding of no significant impact,” clearing the way for the project. Four years later, the Mississippi Department of Transportation bought five properties along the road to secure rights of way for the project, and in April 2015, the Legislature approved $4 million in its fiscal 2015 highway budget to begin planning the South Frontage Road expansion.
The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen in April 2018 awarded a $1.576 million bid to relocate the utility lines along South Frontage Road to Hemphill Construction of Florence. The project was completed in June 2018.
The Mississippi Transportation Commission in September 2018 awarded the project to T.L. Wallace Construction of Columbia, which submitted the low bid of $17.33 million for the project. The bid was more than $450,000 under the project’s estimate of $17.80 million.