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March 28, 2023

Highway Upgrades

County roads to see improvements

By Jack Criss

The Bolivar Bullet

A contract has been awarded to pave Highway 8 from Cleveland to Rosedale and Highway 1 from Beulah to Rosedale at a cost of $5.8 million dollars.

“The projects were scheduled to start this week,” said Willie Simmons, Commissioner of the Central District. “However, to ensure that our work will not interfere with our farmer’s ability to harvest their crops, MDOT has requested the contractor on the project, APAC, to delay the starting date to October 1, 2021. Many farmers in the area saw our trucks moving which naturally adds to the traffic load and got a bit concerned since this is the eve of harvest season. So, we were able to hold off until October and expect the work to be finished in two to three months time.

“We are utilizing our Lottery funds to pave these highways that have not been paved in over 20 years,” continued Simmons. “In Bolivar County, we recently completed Highway 444 from Highway 61 to Highway 1 at a cost of $1.8 million dollars, also using Lottery funds. The funding we’ve received from the lottery has been an incredible boost for MDOT and the state: it puts $80 million a year into the MDOT budget, the only new money we’ve seen since 1987. It was much needed and I and the other Commissioners made the decision last year to move most of this money into paving our roads, particularly our two-laned roads. 

“As one specific example, in the past two years, Holmes County has received over $5 million in pavement contracts and we’re going to be doing additional work in just about every county in the state,” added Simmons.

 Regarding the delay in order to help the farming community, Simmons said, “As Commissioner of the Central District and a lifetime resident of the Delta, I know the importance of having a safe and dependable infrastructure system; but I also realize the importance of our farmers getting their crops out of the fields and to the drain elevators in a timely manner. We didn’t want any hold-ups or to slow down that process. With all that being said, I am grateful to Earl Glenn, District Engineer, his staff and APAC for responding to this serious matter in the ways that they did.”

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