The South Frontage Road will open Friday morning.
The project has been in the works for over 20 years, with community advocate Margaret Gilmer working for decades to see the project reach its current stage. Gilmer passed away on Jan. 2, after a brief illness. In honor of her efforts to bring the project to Vicksburg, the City of Vicksburg will name the bridge over Old Highway 27 after Gilmer.
The project began in earnest in the fall of 2019 with a projected cost of almost 18 million dollars. Eventually, “There will be an exit and entrance onto I-20 near this bridge, that is why the bridge is so wide,” explained project engineer Eric Morgan. When asked when or if the road would be one-way Morgan replied, “That is not in the plans for the foreseeable future if it ever happens at all.”
The Frontage Road extension is one of several projects in the works for I-20 in Vicksburg. “We will be blocking a lane on the interstate to get ready for the next project, replacing the guard rails on the I-20 bridge,” said Morgan. The rail repair is the first of 5 projects to upgrade and repair bridges on I-20.
The South Frontage Road is not complete. It will still need another layer of asphalt, final striping with the thermal plastic paint and other finishing touches. “We will still have heavy equipment out here crossing over as we fix the rails on the I-20 bridges, so we’re going to wait to put down the final layer of asphalt so the heavy equipment doesn’t tear it up,” stated Morgan. Old Highway 27 will connect with the South Frontage on the south side of the bridge, but the section of Old Highway 27 under the bridges will remain closed while the rail work continues.
The road will allow easy access to the Outlets Mall stores and will connect the South Frontage Road with Berryman.