Driving between Philadelphia and Meridian just became a bit easier as a four-lane portion of Highway 19 in Lauderdale County reopened Wednesday.
For months, those who travel between Philadelphia and Meridian have had to switch between two lanes and four lanes of traffic.
The four-lane portion from the Newton County line to the House community was completed a few months ago. Now four-lane traffic has resumed from the House community into the city of Meridian.
Mississippi Department of Transportation officials want to urge caution to all motorists who travel on Highway 19 until everyone becomes accustomed to returning to the four-lane highway.
Motorists should especially pay attention to lane markings on both northbound and southbound lanes from Collinsville to House.
"Basically you just remove the barricades, add the additional amount of stripe at the end and at the beginning and swap traffic over," said Randy Wedgeworth, MDOT civil engineer. "On the northbound lanes, you have to convert your stripe that's in a two-lane configuration over into the normal four-lane configuration that you see on your normal four lanes."
This portion of Highway 19 was constructed by L & T Construction from Hernando, Miss., at an original cost estimate of $29.5 million. While final figures have not been released, the project was completed three months ahead of schedule.
The final phase of the Highway 19 four-lane project, from House to Philadelphia, has not yet been bid.