The $52.4 million project was announced by Mississippi’s two Republican U.S. Senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, and GOP 1st District Congressman Trent Kelly.

The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will support the construction of the segment of Mississippi Highway 76 that will connect it to Mississippi Highway 25 in Itawamba County which is the last stretch between the autotmotive plants that is not four lanes.

Today, a $52.4 million grant was announced for MDOT to construct a new section of SR 76 in Itawamba County. The highway is part of a regional freight corridor. The grant will allow MDOT to completely four-lane the freight corridor through MS. More info:

— MDOT (@MississippiDOT) July 23, 2019

“The INFRA grant will be matched with $43.6 million in state and other federal funds which will allow MDOT to construct an 8.3-mile extension of State Route 76,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District.

State Route 76 forms a part of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) in Mississippi. The $96 million project will complete the final portion of the ADHS Corridor V runs from Interstate 55 in Batesville to Interstate 24 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, connecting intermodal facilities in the three states, including the Port of Huntsville and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

“Corridor V is a vital route for the automotive and furniture manufacturing industries in the Mid-South,” Tagert said. “With the growth of Toyota in Blue Springs and the development of the Toyota-Mazda site in Huntsville, Alabama, we expect to see an increase in freight traffic and just-in-time deliveries.”

Currently, a 2.5 mile four-lane section of Corridor V stretches into Mississippi from Alabama.

Freight traffic along Corridor V currently has to use a 13-mile section of two-lane State Route 23 when traveling from Interstate 22 to Alabama. The new highway will cut four miles off the trip, but more importantly take traffic off the narrow two-lane route, making the highways safer for the traveling public, MDOT said.

“The funding (U.S Labor) Secrectary (Elaine) Chao announced today would improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of a critical segment of the National Highway System and a key connector to our nation’s freight network,” Wicker said.

The DOT award is part of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America discretionary grant program. The announcement marked the start of a 60-day congressional review period, after which the funding would be made available. Congress designed the INFRA grant program to provide dedicated discretionary funding support to critical infrastructure projects across the country.

Toyota has invested $1.2 billion in Toyota Mississippi, which employs some 2,000 workers in Blue Springs, which opened in 2011. The Toyota-Mazda plant, a $1.6 billion investment, will employ about 4,000 workers.

“Good infrastructure is key to providing high paying jobs and a better quality of life for our citizens,” Kelly said. “Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi has been a great partner and this highway improvement project will further enable Toyota and others to grow their productivity providing more jobs for hardworking Mississippians.”