Hwy. 463 project not part of MDOT eight-year plan; no funding

Mississippi Highway 463 is still on the books for a major widening project however no funds are available for the project.

Although it was included in Madison County’s traffic study, which was conducted by Neel-Schaffer, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has no plans to widen the highway anytime soon or provide funding to Madison County.

“MDOT released their eight-year plan, and it’s not there,” said Trey Baxter, District 2 supervisor and board president. “So, widening it is not going to be until at least 2024 because I haven’t heard anything.”

Baxter said between Reunion Parkway and I-55, Highway 463 has 17,000 vehicles riding on it every day, and that the road is at 170 percent capacity.

“In five to 10 years, there are going to be several thousand more cars a day. The traffic projections are in the traffic study.”

The traffic study completed by Neel-Schaffer can be found at www.madison-co.com.

“Highway 463 was not a top priority for the former board (of supervisors),” said Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall. “The (previous) board passed a resolution not to proceed with an environmental study, so we put it on the shelf.”

Hall said since the project has been put aside, there is no funding left for the project.

“Nothing’s going to happen until it becomes part of a new program, when legislators pass legislation to fund a new highway program.”

Hall couldn’t give an exact amount, but said widening Highway 463 from Reunion Parkway to Park Place Boulevard would cost “quite a few million dollars.”

“Rights of way would be hard to get and expensive. Everything about it would be expensive when we do get to it. We don’t have the resources to do it. We don’t even have the resources to get the rights of way.”

Hall said any environmental or other studies that have been done would need to be redone.

“Too much has changed out there. Whatever status it was, we’re going to have to start over.”

In a 2012 Sun article, Hall again cited lack of funding for widening the road, but that preliminary work for the project could start by 2014 or 2015.

“For this project to get off the ground, additional funding for transportation from the federal or state level will be required,” said State Planning Engineer Jeff Pierce in 2012.

The designated funding source for 463 is the federal Surface Transportation Program (STP). In the latest Jackson Urbanized Area Transportation Plan, 463 is listed as a priority that needs to be widened to five lanes from Park Place Boulevard to Reunion Parkway. The widening would cost $16.2 million.

According to the Neel-Schaffer study, widening 463 from two lanes to four lanes from Reunion Parkway to Park Place Boulevard is a long-term project, meaning it would need to take place within the next 10 to 20 years.

It would include adding a sidewalk and multi-use path.

The study also states that this particular portion of the highway had 294 crashes in a six-year period, averaging out to almost 50 crashes every year.

In the meantime, Neel-Schaffer provided short-term projects for Madison County to complete on 463.

Short-term projects include improving 463’s intersections with Bozeman Road, Robinson Springs Road, Cypress Lake Boulevard (road to Madison Middle School), Gluckstadt Road, Stribling Road and Livingston Road.

This past fall, MDOT did complete an overlay project on 463. The project stretched from Mississippi Highway 22 to Mannsdale Road.

“It was a little bumpy and they repaved it,” said Morgan Miller, MDOT public information officer.

Miller said the seven-mile project cost $3.5 million.

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