The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) is continuing to seek support for a road project that Reservoir General Manager John Sigman said has been a dream for many people for a long time.
The project calls for the relocation of the Bob Anthony Parkway, which is a principal transportation link between urban areas of Madison and Rankin counties.
The Parkway is a four-lane roadway, with two lanes running along the dam and two for eastbound traffic at the toe of the dam.
According to the project proposal, the new road will improve an existing 3.1-mile segment of the Bob Anthony Parkway by moving it off the dam and allowing for better traffic flow.
Sigman said it would be four lanes of elevated roadway, much like I-55 below Manchac in Louisiana.
“This road will serve several purposes,” Sigman said. One of which is allowing for 18-wheeler traffic through the area.
Currently, commercial vehicles in excess of one ton are prohibited on the Parkway. This results in vehicles taking an 18-mile detour to travel to the other side of the dam.
The new road would be able to support 18-wheeler traffic.
Sigman said it would also help relieve rush hour traffic that accumulates on the Parkway at peak hours.
The average daily traffic counts within the project corridor currently clock in around 30,000, with a projection of approximately 40,000 in 2030.
The project, which Sigman said will be a long-range project, is projected to cost around $133 million. However, as it will take several years to complete, Sigman said they will likely tackle the “long-range” project in phases.
“Last year we approached the federal highway administration about a grant and didn’t get it,” Sigman said.
However, the PRVWSD board is again seeking federal funds to relocate the Parkway.
“It’s something we have been dreaming about for forever,” he said.
The application cites issues that could result if traffic is not moved off the dam, including slope failure, increased maintenance costs and property damage due to flooding. Increased traffic on the Bob Anthony Parkway has led to four major slope failures since 2014.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) prepared the application for the federal BUILD grant last year.