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franklin county times

Interchange for new industrial park progressing

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
April 19, 2001
Construction of an interchange to give companies looking to locate in a new industrial park east of Meridian direct access to Interstate 20-59 could begin within a couple of years, officials said today.
Engineer Terrell Temple told the board of directors of the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation the process has cleared the first step and is on schedule.
EMBDC president Wade Jones said the direct access is important in Meridian's quest to draw a major supplier for the Nissan plant being constructed in Madison County.
While the exact location is still unknown, Temple said there is "a 2,000-foot window" under consideration. According to interstate highway standards, the new interchange would have to be built at least a mile away from any existing interchange. That would put it somewhere east of the Bonita interchange and west of the Highway 45 exit.
Temple reported to the board during its monthly meeting the concept of a new interchange to serve a new east industrial park has received formal approval from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Meanwhile, Temple reported that Sen. Trent Lott and other members of Mississippi's Congressional Delegation are working to get money into this year's federal budget for the project.
Temple said that $1 million in federal funds is being sought for preliminary design work, an environmental review and some right-of-way acquisition.
The congressional delegation is also seeking about $7 million for actual construction, Temple said.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.