A construction worker makes adjustments to the rebar on an overpass as part of the current Interstate10 widening project in Jackson County. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
News of President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion federal investment in infrastructure was stunning to many.
Although some are starting a wish list, others still have questions - including what what the investment means for South Mississippi.
"There's a lot of things thrown into infrastructure," said Kelly Castleberry, MDOT District Engineer. "Until it comes out of Congress, it's kind of hard to say exactly where the money is going to go and what the money's going to be used for,”
Current standards don't allow funding for state roads, but some of the infrastructure money can be used on federal aid routes like U.S. 49, U.S. 90 or Interstate 10.
According to Castleberry, widening I-10 from Alabama to Louisiana is a high priority.
After the current projects are complete, 40 miles of I-10 would still need widening to three lanes in both directions; including the Pascagoula River and Pearl River bridges.
“In reality, from the Alabama state line to the Louisiana state line, Interstate 10 needs to be widened,” Castleberry said. “It would help commerce, it would help motorists, it would reduce fuel costs. It could reduce commute times. It could reduce congestion.”
Bryan Bosio agrees.
“All around it's going to ease the flow just kind of free up a lot, a lot, I really do. I think it’s needed and I hope it happens," said Bosio.
But Christian Groff, who says he voted for President Trump, isn't sure if the money will ever get to South Mississippi.
“Wait and see. He promised a lot, we’ll see what he does," added Groff.
Castleberry says that a widening project could cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million.