By Kathleene Quinn
The new stretch of West County Line Road is now completed and ready for motorists. After putting the project on hold back in 2009 due to lack of funds, the City of Jackson officials together with special guests and Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen J. Walters held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, October 11 to officially open the road.
The ceremony was held on the west side of the railroad bridge located just west of the intersection of U.S. Highway 51/State Street and West County Line Road in Jackson. “It’s taken a lot of patience and a lot of persistence,” said Hibbett Neel, PE, President and CEO of Neel-Schaffer, the Engineer of Record for the project that will realign West County Line Road and make a variety of other changes to the roadways and infrastructure near Tougaloo College in North Jackson. Among the biggest changes are the relocation of 6,300 feet of Canadian National Railroad tracks, the addition of three overpasses and the closure of three at-grade rail crossings.
The completion of this $10 million project was funded in part by a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. “As an intersection of the City of Jackson and the historic Tougaloo College, this road will lead the people to one of the most special places in the state of Mississippi. Additionally, it gives our institution a great opportunity for an economic growth and development, as we welcome potential and future partnerships from the business sector,” said Dr. Carmen J. Walters, President of Tougaloo College. “We look forward to seeing the results of this project.”
Other officials joining the ceremony are Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Sen. John Horhn, Rep. Debra Gibbs, Jackson Councilwoman Angelique C. Lee, President and CEO of Neel-Schaffer Hibbett Neel, P.E.