Natchez Trace Complete, Opens

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The ceremonial completion of the Natchez Trace in Clinton and Natchez opens the 444-mile scenic highway from a terminus interchange near Nashville to Natchez.

The final projects linked Interstate 55 and Interstate 20 around Jackson's north and west sides, and about eight miles leading into Natchez from the north.

National Park Service Director Fran Mainella joined U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott and Rep. Chip Pickering during the two ceremonies that began in Clinton and then by caravan to Natchez.

Lott said the scenic highway will be a tremendous asset to the state of Mississippi. Mainella called this "a historic day, not just in Mississippi, but in the country."

The parkway construction started in 1937 with three grading projects near Madison.

The Daughters of the American Revolution in 1905 lobbied for a scenic highway to follow the path of the Old Natchez Trace with granite markers along its length. The Natchez ceremony included the unveiling of a granite marker.