Highway 6 improvement

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2008

An earmark funding allocation of over $3 million has been authorized by Congress for the Miss. Department of Transportation (MDOT) to perform preliminary survey and engineering work from Clarksdale to Batesville.

MDOT has received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Federal Highway Administration, completing the environmental phase of the proposed corridor improvement of Highway 6 from Clarksdale to approximately two miles east of Interstate 55 near Batesville.

The 40-mile corridor, located in Coahoma, Quitman and Panola counties, will be improved most noticeably by the long-anticipated four-laning of the highway between Batesville and Clarksdale.

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“We are extremely pleased to obtain approval of the FONSI from the Federal Highway Administration for State Route 6,” said state Rep. Warner F. McBride, chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

McBride, who is from Batesville, tried unsuccessfully to secure funds for the Highway 6 road improvement, and other projects across the state, during the most recent session of the state legislature.

Once the Highway 6 project is complete, “it will help to alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety and decrease travel time,” McBride also said.

When completed, the improved corridor will provide an east-west link from the Delta to I-55 that transportation and economic development officials believe will boost economic development potential, improve traffic flow and enhance safety for the traveling public.

The Highway 6 corridor connects to the future I-69 corridor at the Highway 49/Highway 61 interchange at Clarksdale.

With the issuance of the FONSI, MDOT may now initiate the preliminary engineering phase along this corridor which will be followed, as funding becomes available, by the acquisition of right-of-way and project construction.

Bypasses for both the cities of Marks and Batesville will be provided on new alignments. Also included in the FONSI are proposed improvements to the existing I-55/Highway 6 interchange.

Another earmark funding allocation of approximately $5 million was authorized by Congress to perform the preliminary engineering from Clarksdale eastward to Quitman County.

MDOT survey crews have begun fieldwork in this area to gather information as part of the preliminary engineering phase.  

It is anticipated that preliminary survey work on this corridor will be in progress through the spring of 2009.

Development of right-of-way plans is currently scheduled to begin upon completion of the preliminary surveys.  

With the exception of the Batesville bypass, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2014, project construction dates for the remainder of the corridor are unknown at this time but will be scheduled as funding becomes available.