Four-lane finish still years off

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A spokeswoman for Louisiana’s transportation department said Wednesday four-laning of U.S. 61 from the state line to Baton Rouge might not be complete for some time.

A specific date for completion wasn’t available from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development as of Wednesday.

&uot;But the (last) section, from Thompson Creek to St. Francisville, is scheduled to be let in spring 2006,&uot; spokeswoman Cleo Allen said.

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Her comments came a day after Mississippi Department of Transportation officials officially opened the four-lane from Mississippi 563 to the Louisiana state line.

With that, the four-lane is finished from Church Hill to the state line.

In Louisiana the first section of the four-laning project, from Bains to Wakefield, is complete.

The second, from Wakefield to the Mississippi state line, is about 70 percent complete, and the third, from St. Francisville to Bains, will be let in the fall.

In all, the Louisiana part of the project is 35 percent finished, with the total project estimated to cost $84 million, Allen said.

Baton Rouge, about 90 miles south of Natchez, is a frequent destination for shoppers, weekend-tripping families and university students from the Miss-Lou.

U.S. 61 from Natchez to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s state capitol, is also frequently traveled route for Concordia Parish officials lobbying lawmakers and other state officials.

Mississippi local and transportation officials said Tuesday four-laning the major artery could be a selling point in attracting industries to the Miss-Lou and would be safer for travelers as a four-lane road.