Feb 27 2020
Wicker, Hyde-Smith, & Palazzo Announce $5.39M Award to Improve Rail Crossings in Downtown Hattiesburg
Major Infrastructure Project to Reduce Wait Times, Enhance Safety
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., today announced the award of a $5,397,300 federal grant to the City of Hattiesburg to construct a new downtown route along Hall Avenue that would include a bridge over the Canadian National north-south rail line. In addition to other safety improvements, the project would also build a new rail connection to a Norfolk Southern railyard to eliminate time-consuming three-point turns that block traffic for up to 45 minutes at a time.
“This is great news for the City of Hattiesburg and the thousands of Mississippi residents who have found themselves stuck in traffic because of a slowly moving train,” Wicker said. “This project will provide a much-needed overpass along Hall Avenue for motorists and a streamlined connection for trains that travel through the city each day. These upgrades will improve safety and reduce frustrations as the city works to make Hattiesburg a better place to live and work.”
“Mayor Barker and the city leaders worked hard to earn federal resources for a rail project that will increase public safety, improve traffic, and create a more dynamic downtown,” Hyde-Smith said. “Their plan received strong congressional delegation support because we understand the importance of this plan for the residents, businesses, and the railroad companies.”
“This CRISI grant will reform downtown Hattiesburg’s infrastructure with a rail overpass and reduce train-related traffic delays to improve efficiency and safety for residents and visitors. For more than a century, rail lines have been the central piece of the Hub City and this appropriated funding will increase transportation certainty and reliability throughout the city,” said Palazzo.
City leaders have worked with members of the Mississippi congressional delegation to identify funding sources for the project. Wicker, Hyde-Smith, and Palazzo each wrote letters of support for the city’s application to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Hattiesburg was selected for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program award from among dozens of other projects nationwide.
The City of Hattiesburg will provide a 55 percent local match for the grant, bringing the total estimated project cost to $12 million.