Locals react to Hwy 19 widening project

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PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) - The Department of Transportation announced Thursday that $25 million of a federal grant will go toward widening Mississippi 19 between Philadelphia and Meridian.

The road is currently four-lane from Meridian to the House community in Neshoba County. The plan is to four-lane the remaining 13 miles to Philadelphia. Locals in the city say they've been waiting on this for years.

"I thought they were going to do it much sooner. It'll make it safer to travel. The road between House and Philadelphia is pretty bad to travel. I'm just looking forward to it,” says Bobby Thrash.

"I like it. I think it will help the city out. I like the idea of a four lane. It's faster, easier and a more director route to Meridian,” says Marcus Moore.

Belon Howington is a bus driver for the Neshoba County School district. He says his bus route runs down Highway 19. Howington believes widening the road will be a lot safer for drivers.

"There are so many wrecks on it. It'll cut that down a third of what they are I think. You don't see as many on the four lane going to Meridian. It'll be safe. A lot safer for people to travel on. You will have room to pull over if you have troubles,” explains Howington.

Howington also wants to thank state senators for pushing this project forward.

"Our Senators got up there, got us the money we needed. It's time to get it. We are way past due. When they finished at House, they should have come on to Philadelphia. I think we need to thank our senators for what they did. They are behind it for our safety,” says Howington.

The overall project will cost $40 million. The remaining $15 million will come from state funds.