Ground Broken for Final Phase of East Metro
Mar. 4, 2021
Source: Rankin County News, Charles Bailey
Efforts to generate funding support for the East Metro Corridor project began 30 years ago, and now, the end is in sight.
Ground was broken on the third and final segment of the critical north-south Corridor during a ceremony in Brandon Monday. The divided, four-lane boulevard will run from Lakeland Drive in Flowood to Highway 80 in Brandon.
Segment One, which began in Flowood, extends from Lakeland to El Dorado Road, and it contains a feeder road that has relieved traffic congestion on El Dorado. Segment Two runs through Jackson International Airport property and includes a second feeder road to Old Brandon Road, providing additional traffic relief.
Construction of Segment Three will begin where Segment Two ends beyond El Dorado Road and will extend to Highway 80. Crossgates Boulevard in Brandon is included in the final section, and vast improvements are planned for that road. A new traffic signal will be installed at Crossgates Drive where it intersects with Crossgates Boulevard, and the intersection of Crossgates Boulevard – which will be completely rebuilt – and Highway 80 will be redesigned.
Just beyond Highway 80, motorists will be able to access Highway 18 and Interstate 20.
“If you travel anywhere in the area, Old Brandon Road, Crossgates Boulevard, Highway 80, and El Dorado Road are just burned up with traffic trying to go north and south,” Brandon Mayor Butch Lee said.
“All of that traffic is going to be moving quickly up and down Crossgates Boulevard, so it’s going to be a high-traffic, high-congestion area. But it will be controlled with a modern road, new, modern traffic signals, and other improvements.”
Mayor Lee said the Corridor concept was developed in the 1980’s, and federal money got the project off the ground.
“The original idea was a bypass around Brandon,” he said. “Over the years, things changed and fortunately, (Flowood) Mayor Gary Rhoads decided to pick it up on the north end. If it hadn’t been for his leadership 20 years ago to start working south on that end, we would not be here right now.”
“For the 32 years that I’ve been mayor, this is probably the biggest project I’ve ever seen come together with creative financing,” Rhoads said.
“We’ve had everybody from the federal government to our state senators, who came forward with bond money for different phases of this project, our Rankin County Board of Supervisors who came forth with $4.5 million, and we’ve had Brandon, Pearl, Flowood, and the (Jackson International Airport) involved.
“W were a little bit short (on funding), and the City of Brandon stepped up and said, “We’re going to (provide) that. The Department of Transportation is going to handle the intersection (at Highway 80). This is what happens when you work together.”
Yates Construction will serve as the contractor on Segment Three.
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