Four-Laning Moving Ahead

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A ribbon was cut Wednesday celebrating the completion of four-lane construction of part of Highway 16 in Neshoba County.

And central district transportation commissioner Dick Hall says that the Mississippi Department of Transportation's work is not finished around Philadelphia.

"Well, hopefully, this is the first of many projects in the Neshoba County area. We're completing this one today, cutting the ribbon to open it. But as we're doing it, we're planning the next one. It's going to be Highway 19 between here and Meridian," said Dick Hall, central district transportation commissioner. "We expect that to get underway in '06, actually begin construction on it."

Philadelphia Mayor Rayburn Waddell says that these highway improvements are important to the economic future of Philadelphia.

"To have this four-lane highway is a big deal for us. We've already had a lot of people looking to locate on the bypass between Williamsville and the resort here. We feel like it's going to be good for us. For new businesses, new jobs, so, we're excited about it," said Waddell.

When the Highway 19 project is completed, Waddell says it will be easier to attract big business to Neshoba County.

"It's very important every time we deal with industry looking to locate in Philadelphia, it's always come up that, 'you've got a two-lane highway' and 'you need a four-lane this way,'" said Hall. "We don't have access to get in and out of Philadelphia, to tie into an interstate. Highway 19 does tie into I-20 in Meridian."

Construction on Highway 19 is expected to begin next year. Waddell said he believes it will be complete in about three years.