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Council moves on industrial park

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 24, 2002
Engineers could begin this year designing a new Interstate 20/59 interchange at the Meridian-Lauderdale County Industrial Park the first step in a project that could cost $9 million.
City councilmen voted Tuesday to enter into an agreement with the Mississippi Department of Transportation on funding. MDOT will oversee the project; the city will coordinate construction.
City, county and economic development officials say a new I-20/59 exit at the industrial park would help lure business and industry. The interchange would be between the U.S. 45 and Highway 19 exits.
George Thomas, Ward 1 councilman and city council president, said the new interchange is badly needed. He said the exit "is going to get things moving at the industrial park."
The design phase will take about a year and include environmental studies, engineering and land acquisition. Federal funds will cover 90 percent of the project's cost.
Smith said the city will use property from land acquisitions to cover most of the remaining 10 percent match.
Total cost of construction and design of the interchange will be about $9 million. Smith said he's already "asked our congressional delegation for the $8 million construction cost (in 2003)."
The city will immediately begin advertising to select an engineering firm for the design phase which will take about a year. He said construction could be finished in three years.
Smith said the city council's quick action was key to getting the interchange going.