Hwy. 19 Project Looking Good

The phrase "a long road ahead" may best describe the four-laning of Highway 19 between Collinsville and Philadelphia, Miss.

After years of work to get the ball rolling, construction is close. Just last week, U.S. House members in passed the Transportation Equity Act, which would provide $10 million for the project.

On the state level, despite a lean budget year, transportation officials say the state funds are still there to fund the project. In fact, they say if no further cuts are made to that budget, work to four-lane Highway 19 could begin as early as next year.

In fact, numbers show that over the past decade travel on the stretch of roadway has almost tripled, much of that due to the arrival of the Silver Star Casino, which grew into the Pearl River Resort.

If work on the four-laning begins as planned early next year, we're told it could take at least five years to complete. The Highway 19 project is expected to cost around $40 million.

The act also provides $2 million to construct an interchange to the interstate from Hawkins Crossing in Meridian. That legislation has now been sent to the Senate for consideration.