MDOT finalizing plans for I-10 widening after receiving federal grant

About 50,000 people currently travel through the particular area of I-10 each day, according to MDOT.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:01 PM CST
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DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (WLOX) - The Biden Administration has awarded Mississippi Department of Transportation with a $60 million grant to improve Interstate 10 near Diamondhead.

It’s part of the Mega Grant Program created by President Biden’s infrastructure law to fund projects that are too large for traditional funding programs.

I-10 between Diamondhead and County Farm Road is one out of nine “nationally-significant projects” selected for the first year of funding.

It’s a four-lane stretch with two lanes headed east and two lanes headed west.

About 50,000 people currently travel through the particular area of I-10 each day, according to MDOT.

With the federal grant, MDOT will widen the roadway to six lanes total, including the bridges.

“It would help the truckers. It would help the local community. It would help everybody in general,” truck driver Mark Shaffer from Virginia told WLOX.

Shaffer said he travels through the area almost every week.

“A lot of times it will bottleneck, and traffic will jam up and you can’t get anywhere,” he said. “You crawl until it finally opens up. A third lane would eliminate that. It would eliminate a lot of the rear-end collisions, a lot of sideswipes,” he said.

The Federal Highway Administration records between 9,000 to 11,000 freight trucks moving through the project corridor each day.

“We travel 10 a lot. We’ve been to Florida. We go back-and-forth to Louisiana, California, Tennessee, Alabama,” married drivers Genita Henry and Lenetria Hornsby said. “So, we’re always on 10.”

From one coast to the next, Henry and Hornsby said they take turns driving.

“It’s a little tight, especially when you got a lot of city traffic,” they said. “So, for big trucks, it makes it kind of difficult trying to avoid, you know...Yeah, it would be better if they put another lane, so we’ll have somewhere to strictly drive.”

MDOT is finalizing plans for the project now.

Crews aim to start working late this year or early next.

It will take about three years to complete.

The project also includes a sound wall around Diamondhead and drainage improvements.

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