While Greenville isn’t in a unique transportation situation, it is rare to find a town with all four options for multi-modal transportation.
Greenville’s port, airport, rail and four-lane highways give it the potential to be the hub of transportation for western Mississippi according to Mississippi Department of Transportation Central District Commissioner Willie Simmons.
Simmons was in Greenville on Monday to announce just more than $750,000 in grants from the state for improvements to the main access road at the Greenville port and for hangars at the Greenville Mid-Delta Airport.
The grants are part of a yearly $10 million budget item used to improve transportation avenues in the state.
Simmons said the improvements in Greenville are a part of larger plans for the area including enlarging U.S. Highway 61 from Leland to Vicksburg to four lanes.
The nearly $800,000 grants are a part of another $71.46 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to finish the 15.6 miles of the Greenville Bypass Freight Corridor from Leland to Greenville on the U.S. Highway 82 corridor.
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith recently announced the grant award in a press release.
“Completion of the Greenville Bypass is good for Mississippi and will have a significant impact for Greenville, the Delta, and the communities along U.S. 82,” Wicker said in the press release. “This major award from the U.S. Department of Transportation is the final piece of a multi-phase effort by state and local officials to ensure this highway remains a source of economic vitality for our state.
Hyde-Smith said, “Work on the Leland-Greenville bypass started more than a decade ago, which makes this large grant to complete the project significant. Local and state support, along with the Trump administration’s attention to improving rural infrastructure, was key to winning this award, said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Completing the bypass will change this region by taking heavy trucks off Greenville city streets and relying on the bypass to move freight more efficiently through Washington County. The project can also serve as an economic engine to bring more commerce and jobs to the region.”
Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons also spoke on Monday to say the improvements in the roads in the area are all attributable to the work the commissioner has done.
Errick Simmons pointed to the paving project on Highway 82 as well as the installation of new traffic signals throughout Greenville as a credit to work done by Willie Simmons.
Washington County Economic Alliance Executive Director William Coppage said the port road and airport hangar improvements show Greenville and Washington County are benefitting from the collaborative partnerships.
“The port of Greenville and the Greenville Mid-Delta Airport are two huge catalysts for jobs, not only in Washington County, but the region,” Coppage said. “That is why we celebrate today. Jobs are the No. 1 catalyst for change.”
The port will use $400,000 to make repairs to the connector road. The road was constructed of concrete in 1980s and is deteriorating in sections.
The airport will use $368,663 for improvements to hangar facilities.