Government Fleet Road declared open

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; As trucks thundered by drowning out the speakers, Natchez leaders officially declared Government Fleet Road open for business Monday &045;&045; literally.

The intermodal connector road, which links to the Natchez-Adams Port, was under construction for the past year on a $2 million rebuilding project city leaders had been envisioning for about the last five years.

Federal, state and local money helped pay for the improvements, which widened and straightened the road.

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&uot;This is an important start,&uot; Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said. &uot;This is an economic development accent but also offers quicker, safer access to the port.&uot;

Natchez and Adams County officials, who partnered on the project, are hoping for a second phase that will extend the road straight to the port.

Natchez city engineer David Gardner said applications are being made for similar federal and state assistance for the project.

Access to the port will be of greater importance as local leaders look to boost economic development efforts there. Already, metal fabrication company Venco has expressed interest in locating there.

Adams County Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the work on the road &uot;improves the aesthetics and safety&uot; of Government Fleet Road.

&uot;It’s evident that working together has allowed us to improve infrastructure,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re looking forward to economic development and industry as a result of working together.&uot;

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux Mathis, whose Ward 1 includes Government Fleet Road, said she has been working on improvements there since she was elected in 1996.

&uot;This is a job well done,&uot; she said. &uot;Over a year ago we met with residents to describe the project. This address the beautification of the community but also addresses the safety of our citizens.&uot;

Government Fleet Road had been closed to through traffic for months as Georgetown Construction worked on the project.