Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez yesterday joined state and local officials to kick off construction on I-269 in north Mississippi. The $19.5 million project will complete the beltway around nearby Memphis, Tenn., and is the first of four phases of construction in Mississippi. The completed beltway will relieve congestion and move traffic and freight throughout the state as well as in and around nearby Memphis.
"Not only is Mississippi helping complete this bistate beltway around this major metropolitan area, but the finished roadway will also spur development and economic growth throughout the state," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Projects like this boost the economy and create jobs while moving people and goods as safely and effectively as possible."
The completed I-269 loop in Mississippi is estimated to cost $668.7 million and will create a 25-mile direct connection from the existing I-55/I-69 interchange to the Tennessee state line, linking major freight routes in the region. The entire I-269 corridor is part of the overall 1,600-mile long I-69 corridor that will eventually connect Canada to Mexico through the U.S.
"This project will help move freight across Mississippi, enhance regional and national transportation networks and connect communities," said Mendez. "All of these benefits will make the area more livable by reducing congestion so people can spend less time in their cars and more time doing things they enjoy."
When completed in 2014, this first phase of Mississippi's portion of I-269 will create three miles of new roadway and bridge construction from State Rte. 302 to the Mississippi/Tennessee state line.