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Old 07-19-2015, 06:57 PM
 
1,117 posts, read 1,033,535 times
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I traveled down to the Gulf Coast this weekend and there was a lot of traffic in the stretch between Jackson and Hattiesburg yesterday, more than I normally would see. Over the last decade or so, there's been an increased number of traffic lights. I remember the stretch between Florence and Hattiesburg at a light in Magee and Seminary. Now, Collins has three lights to itself, when there used to be none.

All the traffic and lights made me think that it's time to consider changing 49 to an access-limited freeway (interstate or keeping it as U.S. 49), or even build a new interstate all together between Jackson and the coast. I've heard very small talk of a possible interstate that would parallel 49. Changing 49 may be the most cost-effective since there's already an existing highway. Around Hattiesburg, 49 can be re-routed to run concurrent with I-59 and with the portion of U.S. 98 between I-59 and the present 49 on the southern edge of town.

We already have precedence in Mississippi of changing at-grade highways to freeways: U.S. 45 around Meridian and Tupelo, U.S. 82 in the Golden Triangle, U.S. 61/49 around Clarksdale, and soon, U.S. 78 in north Mississippi will become I-22.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:33 PM
 
1,100 posts, read 2,605,295 times
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Yes! I thought I read somewhere that a real plan existed for converting Hwy 49 into a freeway from Jackson to Gulfport. Presumably if that's true, they probably have to wait 30 years or so for federal funds since the state legislature isn't willing to cover most of the costs.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,792 posts, read 3,893,694 times
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It can be done, but it's crazy expensive. Every road that currently connects at-grade would either have to have an interchange, full-length frontage roads (think the roads parallel to Hwy 82 around the Golden Triangle) or else be completely blocked off.

There was a clear need between Birmingham and Memphis for I-22. Hwy 82 was going to be an interstate at one point, which is why the limited-access section in the GT area was built decades ago, but they went with just a 4-lane-divided with limited-access bypasses.

Look at a map... with I-55 and I-59 already there, there is no need to try and squeeze in another limited-access road. A limited-access Jackson-Mobile link (through Hattiesburg) would be more likely. The most likely best-case scenario for Hwy 49 would be limited access bypasses around the towns that are adding the traffic lights, like Hwy 82 around Eupora and Starkville.

As for Hattiesburg, I already drive around I-59/Hwy98 instead of going through town. And Collins already had a limited-access bypass, but the town grew beyond the bypass Or more likely, stores simply relocated to outside the limited-access zone to snag more traveler money.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:41 AM
Status: "I'm an Unmherkun puppy-kicking Socialist" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Dallas, TX
4,030 posts, read 2,115,440 times
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And, going north, make a limited access highway linking Jackson and Little Rock. Basically extend already existing I-540 (LR to Pine Bluff) down to Greenville, and from there straight to Yazoo City, Jackson, and points south.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
9,518 posts, read 9,399,709 times
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Highway 49 between Richland and Florence is scheduled to be widened in the next few years.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Deep 13
1,068 posts, read 817,053 times
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Ain't gonna happen in our lifetimes. They can't even get the I-10 spur to the Port going and the land has been cleared and everything (one of the reasons the Army Corps said it wasn't worth it to deepen the channel).

Even if the money magically appeared, there would be someone/something that would snafu the whole project.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
9,518 posts, read 9,399,709 times
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Just concentrate on repairing the existing infrastructure and smoothing out some hills if that is possible. There are a few places along Highway 49 south of Jackson where one set of lanes rides a roller coaster while the other side is flatter.
If there is anything pie-in-the-sky for me, it would be widening 49 to six lanes as far north as Saucier.
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