JACKSON, Miss. (October 11, 2021) – East and West County Line Roads are officially connected.
The long-awaited phase of this project was completed today when Congressman Bennie Thompson joined with officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the City of Jackson, and Tougaloo College to cut the ribbon and MDOT opened the new intersection and railroad underpass to vehicular traffic.
“This is a great day for everyone involved,” said Hibbett Neel, PE, President and CEO of Neel-Schaffer, the firm serving as Engineer of Record for the project that connected West County Line Road with East County Line Road and is making a variety of other changes to the roadways and infrastructure near Tougaloo College in North Jackson. Mr. Neel has been involved with this project since the beginning and was among the many speakers at Monday’s event who talked about the impact this new road will make on the Tougaloo Community.
Among the biggest changes made by the project was the relocation of 6,300 feet of Canadian National Railroad tracks, the addition of three overpasses, and the closure of three at-grade rail crossings.
Instead of terminating at State Street (US 51), East County Line Road now continues through the intersection and under a new Canadian National overpass, where it connects with the new section of West County Line Road that was built from 1999 through 2009.
Lacking sufficient funds, the City of Jackson put the rest of the project – moving the railroad and building the overpass and new intersection – on hold.
In 2015, the City received a $16.5 million TIGER Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund two projects – the reconstruction of a two-mile stretch of State Street, and the completion of the West County Line Road project.
Construction resumed in 2018, and now the vision has become a reality.
Tougaloo College is located on West County Line Road, less than one-half mile from the new interchange. City of Jackson and Tougaloo College officials have long hoped that the seamless connection of East and West County Line Roads would open economic opportunities around the college. A Tougaloo College Master Plan, authored in 2019 by the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, shows a mix of campus expansion, large retail, large and small office, hotel, and residential development.