New bicycle trails coming along Mississippi highways - - Jackson, MS

New bicycle trails coming along Mississippi highways

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Many Mississippi highways will be getting a new look in the coming years thanks to a new resolution by the Mississippi Transportation Commission.

The goal is to make roads more user friendly while combating a statewide problem.

Some are hoping this resolution will also pave the way for a better quality of life.

Getting the most of out state roadways is not always an easy plan, but that's just what Mississippi Department of Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall intends to do when it comes to getting folks up and moving, and doing it safely.

"I think it is good for quality of life, for economic development, for all sorts of reasons," Commissioner Hall said.

Under a new resolution adopted the Transportion Commission, MDOT will now be considering the development of multipurpose trails and the widening of roadway shoulders.

The roadway shoulders would be in areas with a recreational interest during the environmental and planning stages of all new highways and the reconstruction of existing ones.

Interstates and most four lane highways are excluded.

"If you do it at that stage it's not so much more expensive," Commissioner Hall said. "All you're going to do is pave something three or four feet wider and put a stripe down it."

Currently Mississippi law requires drivers to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space and Hall says it's time the Department of Transportion help out.

It's a welcomed policy to folks like Jayce Powell, Bike Department Manager at Indian Cycle in Ridgeland, who says it's about time the state peddles it's way to a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly environment.

"It gives everybody a safe place to get out ride a bicycle, they can get out and walk and run," Powell said.

It's not just about improving transportation, but lifestyles as well.

The hope is to get the wheels rolling on a healthier Mississippi.

"Unfortunately we are one of the most obese states and it just gives us the opportunity for people to get outdoors in a safe environment," Powell said.

"I'm tired of being called the most obese state in the nation and I want to do something about it and I think this will do something about it," Commissioner Hall said.

Hall says it will take a few years before the full effects are felt, but starting now is the right step.

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