MARSHALL COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - It's the largest road project in Mississippi. Construction on the International Trade Corridor has been going on for more than a year.
The road will eventually run from Canada to Mexico. Mississippi's right in the middle of the massive project and right on schedule. Construction started last June and the roads are starting to take shape.
"The project is really moving along fast, right on schedule," says transportation commissioner Mike Tagert.
The future I69-269 road is being built in five phases.
Work is well underway on Phase One, a three mile stretch in northern Marshall County. Construction will begin this month on Phase Two in neighboring DeSoto County.
"The contract time start begins in August," Tagert tells abc24.com. "Then you'll see dirt movement and heavy equipment in Desoto County also."
The roads will connect Interstate 55 so "eventually if you're traveling north on I-55 toward Memphis you'll be able to simply exit onto I-269, which from 55 which would take you to I-40."
The highway is designed to alleviate heavy truck traffic on I-40 and Highway 78.
"Some of the larger truck traffic will go around Memphis, giving drivers an opportunity to stay on fully controlled interstate bypass as opposed to sending trucks through Memphis. We really do think it's going to have a tremendous impact on the entire region whether Marshall, Desoto or east of Memphis," Tagert says.
First phase should be completed in 2014. The entire loop will take several years to finish.