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franklin county times

Interstate projects nearly complete

By Staff
UPGRADES – APAC workers Joe Pickett, front, and Joe Edwards smooth the westbound shoulder of Interstate 20/59 at exit 169. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 15, 2002
Mississippi transportation officials said Wednesday two multi-million-dollar upgrades of Interstate 20/59 east and west of Meridian are almost complete.
Part one, a $10.1 million project from 65th Avenue to Newton County, was completed earlier this month, with the exception of minor repairs.
The latest, a $10.3 million project to refurbish parts of I-20/59 from Alabama to the Highway 19 exit, should be complete by November.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation began work on the projects last year.
While work on the roads has been going well, there were problems with traffic accidents near the construction sites earlier this year. Over a two-month period in May and June, there were four accidents at or near the sites.
The most recent accident, on June 20, was fatal. A 10-vehicle pile-up in the eastbound lanes of I-20/59 left two dead and another critically injured. The accident happened when an 18-wheeler was involved in a collision with vehicles stalled because of construction.
Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose initially said criminal charges might be forthcoming.
DuBose said there have been no "major accidents" on I-20/59 since the fatal wreck in June. He also said the traffic is getting better as the road projects near completion.
Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose said today it appears no felony charges will be brought against the driver of an 18-wheeler involved in a 10-car pileup on Interstate 20/59, near a construction site. Two people were killed in the June 20 accident.
DuBose said the determination was made "after discussing the case with the district attorney's office … we're still not sure about misdemeanors, though."