Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service Celebrate Completion of Roadway Safety Improvements Along Natchez Trace Parkway
Photo credit: National Park Service.
40-mile project benefits visitors, communities in Alabama and Mississippi
TUPELO, Miss. – This week officials from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Park Service (NPS) celebrated the completion of a 40-mile roadway rehabilitation and safety improvements project along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama and Mississippi. The Parkway is one of the nation’s most visited national park with 6 million annual visitors who enjoy the scenic drive, historic sites, and recreational activities in communities along the parkway. Funding for the project was made possible with $54.3 million provided by FHWA’s Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program.
“FHWA is proud to partner with the National Park Service to help make travel safer and provide more reliable access to the Natchez Trace Parkway, an historic travel corridor that supports local residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “This project will enhance quality of life for local residents across two states and ensure continued visitor access to cultural and historically significant destinations along the parkway.”
The project includes new safety features along Natchez Trace Parkway with raised pavement markings to help prevent lane departures and crashes. Additionally, the project brings the pavement and road condition up to a state of good repair, allowing for more cost-effective preventative maintenance to take place in the future.
Officials from the Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, Natchez Trace Parkway and surrounding communities participated in a ribbon cutting event on Thursday at Colbert Ferry Park in Alabama.
“The new safety features are the first of their kind on Natchez Trace Parkway. We will use this section of road to collect information on how safety features like raised profile stripes help reduce lane departures and impact the natural soundscape of the Parkway,” said Natchez Trace Park Superintendent Douglas Neighbor. “This is only the beginning of safety enhancements on the Parkway. A project to improve pavement conditions on the roadway from Milepost 121 to 204, including Webster, Choctaw, Attala, Leake and Madison counties, will begin in 2024.”
Natchez Trace Parkway is among the top 10 national parks visited each year. It is designated as a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. Visitors can participate in a number of recreational activities including hiking, cycling, camping, boating and horseback riding in the national park. The parkway also provides access to historic homelands for multiple Native American tribes including the Natchez, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole.
FHWA is currently accepting applications for the next round of funding under the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Projects program. More information about the availability of $88 million in FY 2023 funds can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Information on how to apply is available at Grants.gov.