Connector road opens area for development
RIDGELAND — Property along I-220 severed from the primary Tougaloo College college campus by the construction of the interstate in the early 1980s will be reconnected with a roadway opening the area for future economic development, thanks to an injection of more than $1 million of state monies into an overall $25 million project, city officials said.
Public Works Director Alan Hart said the project is a connecting roadway corridor from West County Line Road on the Madison-Hinds County border running north to the immediate vicinity of the intersection of Lake Harbour Drive extension and Highland Colony Parkway. The total length of the project is approximately 2.5 miles.
“This corridor will restore and provide access to properties owned by Tougaloo College which were severed from the primary college campus by the construction of I-220 in the early 1980s,” Hart said.
The project will be known as the Commerce Park Connector Road.
The estimated total cost of the entire Highland Commerce Connector project is expected to cost between $23 million and $25 million, Hart said. The project is in the design phase and could begin construction as early as 2024 pending funding opportunities.
The project is a cooperative endeavor with Tougaloo College and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, with the support of the Legislature, to develop the Highland Commerce Connector, Hart said.
“While the value of I-220 is recognized as important to our state transportation system, nonetheless the presence of I-220 has created an economic hardship for Tougaloo by rendering this area of its ownership essentially useless due to lack of access,” Hart said. “This corridor, upon its completion, will provide a high-quality and safe transportation system component that will provide a pathway for future economic development opportunities.”
At the city board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 19, aldermen unanimously approved two memorandums of understanding between the state and the city regarding House Bill 1353 on the consent agenda.
The bill grants monies to municipalities for infrastructure projects, Mayor Gene F. McGee said. Ridgeland will be awarded $1.5 million in funding to go toward the project.
“This is money approved by the Legislature and we worked hard to get it,” McGee said.
McGee said the city is also trying to secure other funding mechanisms for this connector project including federal funds.