Sheriff urges caution as Hwy. 45 bypass opens
By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
May 14, 2001
QUITMAN Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp is urging drivers to slow down and pay attention especially after Tuesday when the new four-lane Highway 45 bypass of Quitman opens.
Kemp said there have been eight traffic fatalities in Clarke County this year.
Heading south, the new road opens at the Clarkco State Park exit and travels around Quitman on the east side until it comes out at DeSoto.
Clarke County deputies and Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers will be stationed at major exits on the 11.5-mile bypass Tuesday and throughout the week.
This project is part of the 1987 Four-Lane Highway Program, a four-phased legislative program to four-lane or make improvements to more than 1,811 miles of Mississippi roadways, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Under this program, Highway 45 will one day be four-laned from the Tennessee state line in Alcorn County to the Alabama state line in Wayne County.
A special ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Clarkco State Park exit. Southern District Highway Commissioner Wayne Brown will be joined by local elected officials and others for the occasion.
This project has been ongoing since early 1997, and there is still some work left to do over the next few months, according to MDOT area engineer Sharpie Smith.
T.L. Wallace Construction Co. of Columbia has done the grading, drainage and bridge construction on the project at a cost of $22.5 million. APAC Mississippi Inc. of Meridian has done the paving work at a cost of $16.7 million.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.