Hwy. 6 Bypass
By Billy Davis
Long-planned improvements to Highway 6 from Batesville to Clarksdale are expected to be a topic tomorrow at a meeting of the Delta Council Highway and Transportation Committee.
Rep. Warner McBride of Batesville is expected to discuss the Highway 6 project as well as rail service between West Point and Greenwood.
McBride serves as chairman of the state House Transportation Committee.
The Delta Council meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola.
Butch Brown, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, will give a status report on highway construction and maintenance in the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties served by Delta Council.
Bethany Stich, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, who is leading a study to review the feasibility and costs of restoring the rail line, will also update committee members and guests about that effort currently under way.
McBride told The Panolian he hopes to announce Wednesday that MDOT had approved engineering and design contracts for the Highway 6 project when its three commissioners met Tuesday.
The Highway 6 project represents a long-planned and long-promised improvement to traffic flow through the Delta region.
Plans call for four-laning Highway 6 between Clarksdale and Batesville, and building a 10-mile bypass south of Batesville.
McBride said progress is moving forward on a second front, explaining that the Delta Regional Authority plans to spend $5 million in Federal funds to four-lane 4.5 miles from Clarksdale to the Quitman County line.
“It will take most of that money – if not all – to complete that project,” McBride said.
Asked about how the state’s budget woes will affect the planned bypass, McBride said, “If we need funding, we may have to get out and find it.”
“We are pleased that Butch, Warner, and Bethany are joining the Delta Council Transportation Committee to give us an update on critical transportation issues that affect all of the citizens, and the economy, of Northwest Mississippi,” said Tom Gresham, chairman of the Delta Council Transportation Committee.