Reservoir receives funds for roadway


Piece by piece, Reservoir officials are securing $132.3 million in funding for the proposed new roadway to get traffic off of the Reservoir dam.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District will receive $2.8 million toward the project in federal funding awarded from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant. 

The monies will support the planning phase for relocating the Bob Anthony Parkway that carries traffic from Madison and Rankin counties across the spillway.

The amount allotted falls short of the original sum the PRVWSD Board said they had asked for. The board announced in May that they had partnered with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to apply for BUILD grant money in the amount of $3.6 million for preliminary engineering for the project. PRVSWD said that they have set aside $900,000 to match the grant.

Reservoir General Manager John Sigman said the proposal from the PRWSD is to build two new bridges further south of the dam that would span the 4.4 miles from the Rankin County side of the Reservoir to Ridgeland. 

Sigman said that they will match the grant with $700,000 of the funds they had set aside. He said the total $3.5 million will go toward environmental assessments and planning and design for the project. The original ask included funds for right-of-way purchases.

“Our original application asked for some money for purchasing right of way,” Sigman said. “They withheld that money and asked us to finish our design phase first so we would know how much we had to purchase.”

Sigman said that the PRWSD already owned much of the right-of-way in the path of the project.

Sigman said that they were happy to receive the funds and looked forward to getting this project underway and the benefits it would bring to area commerce. 

“This is going to be an economic betterment for both Rankin and Madison counties,” Sigman said.

He has said that his project has been a long-term goal for the board.

"This is something we've talked about for a long time, but we have only gotten serious about securing funding for it in the last couple of years," Sigman said in May when he and the board were reviewing the grant for submission.

“I'm proud to work with our delegation and USDOT to revitalize our aging infrastructure in Mississippi,” U.S. Rep. Michael Guest said. “This project would provide much-needed relief for the Ross Barnett Reservoir dam structure while maintaining the critical traffic corridor between Madison and Rankin Counties, which provides an easily accessible route connecting residential and business hubs in the Jackson Metro area.”

Spillway Road carries more than 30,000 cars daily across the dam. The proposed new roadway would relieve pressure on the dam and facilitate freight movement throughout the region.

“I will continue to work with our delegation and local leaders to support similar applications for these highly competitive infrastructure grants,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said.

The remaining $13.22 million in BUILD funds coming into the state will be used to complete a new railway overpass in downtown Hattiesburg. The $26.62 million overpass project on the western portion of Hall Avenue will include improvements to the roadway and a roundabout at the intersection with James Street and Bay Street in Hattiesburg.

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