For more than half a century, the interstate highway system has helped shape our economic destiny and our way of life. And every day, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration works with states to ensure interstate routes will continue to support America's economic competitiveness in the future.
That’s why last Thursday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez joined state and local officials to break ground on I-269 in north Mississippi, a new interstate highway that will help connect communities in Mississippi to major shipping corridors.
This $19.5 million project--the largest highway project in Mississippi--will complete the beltway around nearby Memphis, Tennessee, creating a 25-mile direct connection from the existing I-55/I-69 Interchange to the Tennessee state line and linking major freight routes in the region. The entire I-269 corridor is part of the 1,600-mile long I-69 corridor that will eventually connect Canada to Mexico through the United States.
As Mike Tagert, transportation commissioner for the northern district of Mississippi put it, I-269 “will connect Mississippi to the world.”
This project will bring much needed economic development to northern Mississippi, putting people to work today building a highway that will support the region's economic development tomorrow. And a project like this generates an economic ripple effect as construction companies buy supplies and workers are able to spend paychecks in stores and restaurants.
In addition to providing a boost to the local economy, the I-269 loop will also eventually reduce congestion and allow the freight that’s so essential to our economy to move more easily through the region.
As FHWA Administrator Mendez said, “these benefits will make the area more livable by reducing congestion so people can spend less time in their cars and more time with their families doing things they enjoy.”
While in Mississippi, Administrator Mendez also joined local and state representatives to celebrate the completion of a Recovery Project nearby. The $645,000 pavement improvement project resurfaced 2.3 miles of road in Southhaven, Mississippi, making the road smoother to increase safety and extend the life of the pavement.
Improving safety, reducing congestion, creating jobs, and laying the foundation for long-term prosperity--that’s a role DOT is proud to play in helping to win our future.