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Work Officially Underway On Fortification Street

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 06 Jun 2012 05:17pm | comments

A 9-million dollar road project is under way to repair one of the most heavily traveled roads in Jackson. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the project is a complete make-over of the badly damaged road.

After ten years of talk about redoing the deeply rutted and pot-holed road, local, state and federal officials have turned the first dirt on the Fortification street project.

The project will not only fix the pot-holes, it will reduce parts of the road to from four lanes to three, widen side-walks, and attempt to repair weak infrastructure such as sewer pipes and power lines.

The city had to get 45 separate easements to move forward but Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson says the project is a critical upgrade to one of the most important roads leading to downtown.

"This is going to be a gateway into these neighborhoods that surround it. Whether it is Belhaven, Belhaven Heights, Midtown, or the Ferris street historic district. All of these neighborhoods are going to benefit. But We also are going to have benefit accruing to the businesses in this area. So it is going to be an economic development project, no doubt about it," Johnson said.

Just over one-mile of the road will be repaired, but that mile is so badly damaged that drivers have to swerve and dodge the deep pot-holes.

Mike Stevens with Baptist Health Systems, which has hospital properties along Fortification, says the street is the 'front door' to their campus and the city.

"We have patients from all 82 counties. And we have treated patients from all 50 states. We are a destination center for health care in Mississippi. And Fortification street will make it that much easier for people to get to us," Stevens said.

Residents who live in the area are so excited about the long awaited repairs that they held a parties following the announcement.

Betty Allen lives off Fortification and has been pushing for the construction for years.

"Any improvement to our city is a help to everybody that lives in Jackson. We need to promote out city. We need to do everything we can to promote Jackson and do what we can to improve it for all of our citizens," Allen said.

The project is funded by a mix of funds...roughly 20-percent from the city, a quarter from the Mississippi Development Authority and the reminder from the Federal Government.




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