Interstate will take determination, tenacity

Published 12:06 am Thursday, January 11, 2018

If construction of Interstate 14 through Natchez were a journey, the engine was officially cranked on Tuesday, but the road ahead is of Lewis and Clark proportions.

The Mississippi Transportation Commission, which oversees the Mississippi Department of Transportation, gave its official blessing in support of plans to construct the interstate this week.

It was the first official step in Mississippi’s process of beginning to lobby its federal representatives for additional support.

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Later this month, local leaders will head to Washington, D.C., to lobby for congressional support for the plan and eventually financial support as well.

Building highways is never inexpensive and interstates with their complex interchanges are among the most expensive. Add to that the likely cost of constructing two new bridges over the Mississippi River and the numbers can at first seem daunting.

But just like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Interstate 14 project requires some imagination and some vision to come to fruition.

Unfortunately for a generation or two, we’ve lacked that in our corner of the world. We got complacent and rested on our laurels for a while. Since those industrial laurels left, we’ve been playing catch up ever since.

We are thrilled that our local leaders are working hard to make their best effort and getting the Interstate 14 project on the map.

Just like the Natchez National Historical Park, the bluff stabilization, the Natchez Trace Parkway and all of the other good federal projects we’ve seen in our area, they started with an idea and became a reality through tenacity and determination.