Road will ease traffic, officials say

By The Associated Press

HOLLY SPRINGS — Mississippi transportation officials are touting the benefits of the Interstate 269 project.

After all the segments are complete, I-269 will form a 30-mile bypass around Memphis through Tennessee and Mississippi and will connect to the existing I-69/I-55 corridor hub. The projected corridor eventually will stretch from Canada to Mexico.

Mike Tagert, Mississippi’s Northern District transportation commissioner, tells the Commercial Appeal that he understands concerns of residents “directly impacted” by the road’s pathway.

“But it’s important to remember this will be a controlled, four-lane interstate-style highway. It will promote safety and ease inner-city traffic across DeSoto County. It’ll get that large-truck traffic off the streets,” Tagert said.

Work has been under way since June 2011 on the first segment of I-269, a 3.1 mile stretch in Marshall County. The section will run south from the Tennessee state line to Mississippi Highway 302, then curve west across U.S. Highway 78 before it reaches Interstate 55.

The $19.5 million project is to finish by October 2013, with paving done and the road traffic-ready in fall 2014.

Mitch Turner, a Mississippi Department of Transportation engineer, said the benefits from the segment will include faster DeSoto County access to East Memphis and the Nashville area.