Northside Sun, Jackson

After More Than Decade of Planning Reunion Parkway Becoming Reality

By Nell Luter Floyd

On the drawing board for well over a decade, plans for Reunion Parkway required countless hours of work to reach where they now stand.

“We’ve had three or four different state appropriations funding it,” said Sen. Walter Michel, who represents District 25, which includes Madison County and a portion of Hinds County.

“It’s two projects on top of each other. The widening of Bozeman Road is tied into it because Reunion Parkway will cross it and extend toward I-55. The two projects are joined at the hip.

“The legislation for Reunion Parkway and the widening of Bozeman Road is well over $30 million. That’s occurred over the last 10 years.”

After years of discussions about the need for another east-west corridor to move traffic and eventually connect I-55, U.S. 51 and Bozeman Road, construction on Reunion Parkway is moving ahead.

The construction of the 1.3-mile two-lane Reunion Parkway from Parkway East to U.S. Highway 51 is expected to be completed during the spring of 2025. Hemphill Construction Co. received a $22.7 million contract for the project. Federal funds in the amount of $3.65 million will be applied to the project. 

The project will have three phases. The current phase calls for the construction of new bridges over Bear Creek and the CN Railroad, along with construction of bicycle lanes on each side of the new roadway.

The phase of Reunion Parkway extending between Parkway East and Bozeman Road is being advertised for construction bids, which will be accepted through  Aug. 30.

Major projects such as Reunion Parkway take years to move from just a good idea to reality because of the numerous steps involved, Michel said. There’s funding to obtain, then the engineering design of the project to complete, bids must let for a contractor to handle construction and along the way rights-of-way must be obtained and often, utility lines need to be moved, and that’s all before construction starts.

“It’s wonderful to see it progress,” Michel said. 

Leaders including Gov. Tate Reeves, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Congressman Michael Guest, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons and President of the Madison County Board of Supervisors Gerald Steen gathered to break ground on the project on Aug. 3.

“I commend this community for putting together a plan and pursuing this plan through the process of bringing together all the players to collaborate at the state, local and federal level. This process gets results,” said Simmons during the groundbreaking. “Once all phases are complete, this community will have another safe and efficient east/west corridor, which will bring economic development opportunities with it. It’s a win-win.”

In 2018, Michel mentioned Reunion Parkway as among a top item in his legislative agenda.

Reunion Parkway will be phased in during multiple projects so that it ties into Highway 463 near Reunion development and extends east to Bozeman Road. “It will be a good corridor to get traffic to the interstate,” he said.

Michel said Simmons is working to get I-55 North widened from Madison to Gluckstadt to provide more access for vehicles. “We want to make sure the traffic doesn’t just bog down when it gets on the interstate,” he said.

Planned is a new interchange off I-55 between Gluckstadt and Madison that will help alleviate congestion at the Gluckstadt interchange, he said. “It will open up vacant land for development,” Michel said.

The construction of Reunion Parkway is a show of state support for Madison and Gluckstadt, Michel said. “A lot of areas in Mississippi don’t get that kind of support,” he said.