M-DOT clearing tress to finish I-20 widening project - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

M-DOT clearing tress to finish I-20 widening project

By Bert Case - bio | email

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation is nearly done clearing trees in the median on Interstate 20 in Rankin County.

They are widening the roadway from four to six lanes between Pearson Road in Pearl to Greenfield Road in Brandon.

A large amount of tree cutting has already occurred to make way for the new lane of traffic in both directions.

Brian Ratliff, M-DOT Project Engineer, estimates about 5 percent more trees to be cut down to finish the project.

Ratliff says the completed median will not have steel cable like Interstate 220.

"There will be no cables at all," Ratliff said.

"The barriers on the east bound and west bound side will be concrete barriers, similar to what we have on the Stack Project right now." 

Ratliff says some trees will be left.

Dick Hall, Central District Transportation Commissioner, says he loves trees and hates to see them come down, but it has to be done for the project.

"Actually, it will move a little faster than usual because we don't have to clear a right of way, don't have to move utilities, don't have to do the normal things you have to do to add lanes, so it will move rather quickly for this kind of project," Hall said.

We caught up with Hall at a groundbreaking for a new roadway being built in Rankin County from near the J.C. Penny Store on Lakeland Drive, south through a wooded area to connect with El Dorado Road, and eventually on to Highway 80 near Gray Daniel Ford.

It is called the East Central Parkway.

The widening of I-20 in Rankin County is a $35.5 million dollar project set for completion in late 2012.

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