It was a cold and blistery day when Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi cut the ribbon just south of the Getwell Road interchange to officially open the full 26-mile leg of Interstate 269 that completes the 60-mile connection from Hernando, Miss., to Millington, Tenn., culminating seven years of work between contractors and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).
The massive construction effort took 13,891,593 cubic yards of earthwork, 862,570 tons of asphalt and 92,699 cubic yards of concrete. “This interstate represents a huge asset for the region,” says Mike Tagert, northern district transportation commissioner, MDOT. “The quality of our infrastructure impacts our quality of life, and factors into economic development.”
Initial construction began in 2011. By 2015, the section from State Route 302 to the Tennessee state line in Marshall County, Miss., was complete, and by 2017, so was the section from State Route 302 to State Route 305. I-269 is part of the 1,600 mile I-69 corridor proposed to connect Canada to Mexico across the United States.
Motorists will now be able to travel from I-55 near Hernando, Miss., for nearly 60 miles in a loop to Millington, Tenn. Traffic from Interstate 40 will more easily access I-55 and U.S. Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta. I-269 also connects Interstate 22 (which more people know as Highway 78) which runs to Tupelo, Miss. “Cattle and commodities will be trucked across this interstate,” says Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. “It will open up markets for untold numbers of agricultural operations and improve access to agricultural products for our farmers.”
Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a key legislative proponent for the project, echoed Hyde-Smith’s congratulatory remarks and added, “I-269 through Mississippi improves mobility, safety and economic opportunities for this entire region while providing direct access to the Mississippi Delta.”
Access to the new leg of the interstate was opened to motorists after the 300-plus dignitaries, guests, and media cleared the interchange after the celebratory event concluded.