MDOT edges toward a final Highway 9 route

PONTOTOC – The Mississippi Department of Transportation is leaning toward a Highway 9 relocation that would avoid impacting the Longview community.
The preferred alternative – Alternative E – is about a 10-mile section south of existing Highway 9 in Pontotoc County. The four-lane road would start at the Longview exit of Highway 6 and connect into the existing Highway 9 near U.S. 78.
The route was announced at a public hearing Thursday at the Pontotoc Community House. About 175 people attended.
MDOT said the road must be widened because it can’t “efficiently and safely accommodate the volumes and type of traffic that it is projected to carry in the future,” especially with the now-delayed Toyota plant.
The preferred alternative would impact 158 acres of farmland and require 18 residential relocations, according to MDOT. It also could possibly impact the Endville community, but MDOT did not specify how.
Besides leaving Highway 9 in its current location, the other option – Alternative C – is a more southern route that would start at the Highway 9 – Highway 6 exit and connect into Highway 9 near U.S. 78.
Claiborne Barnwell, MDOT’s environmental division engineer, said Alternative C fell out of favor after the July 2008 public meeting because it impacted two communities – Longview and Endville. Alternative E potentially impacts only Endville.
Also, Alternative C would impact an archaeological site, and Alternative E doesn’t.
MDOT will make a decision after residents have had the chance to mail in comments in the next 10 days.
Once the alternative is selected, Barnwell said MDOT will begin the design phase, right-of-way acquisitions and utility relocations. Construction is slated to start in 2014, with completion in about two years.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1589 or Carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/Daily Journal