DeSoto County to spend millions to fix traffic jam on I-55

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to clear out the traffic clog on I-55 in DeSoto county. And County leaders are doing their best to get the state and Feds to foot the bill.  

As FOX13 found out, not just for economic reasons but for safety reasons as well.

One of the goals of the project is to get rid of the bottleneck at Goodman Road and I-55. 

Coming south from Stateline road the roadway drops from 5 lanes to two lanes.

”At Goodman road, it bottlenecks to two Northbound and two Southbound and that stretch of road between there and 269 is where we have multiple accidents and many fatalities,” Supervisor Mark Gardner said. 

The County has recorded 39 accidents that have completely blocked the I-55 in a six-month period.

Supervisor Mark Gardner was with Desoto County leaders in Jackson meeting with the Lieutenant Governor and the head of MDOT and other officials to try to get funding for I-55 to be widened from 2 lanes to four lanes between Goodman road and Church road and from two lanes to three lanes between church road and Commerce Street in Hernando.

The estimated project cost is 368 Million.

”It slows commuter traffic down it slows truck traffic down and the transportation of goods and it stifles economic development, besides the safety issue we have had multiple fatalities and the roadway is Shutdown for hours,” Gardner said. The county is running a website for people to petition the legislature to fund the project.

County population numbers show DeSoto County has grown from Sixty Seven Thousand in 1990 to one hundred and ninety thousand in 2022. The last time any part of I-55 was widened was 15 years ago on the stretch north of Goodman road.

Brian Hill is the developer of Silo Square development in Southaven with 20 businesses and hundreds of homes being built. He says the widening of I-55 is much needed. 

“Desoto County is the fastest growing county in the State, and Southaven is the fastest growing city, with the development going on here it’s just important for commerce and our communities to be able to get here and get home within a reasonable amount of time,” Hill said. 

Gardner tells us he hopes to hear something positive from the legislature this year on funding.

”They listened and they offered hope,” Gardner said.