Mississippi SR 15 Environmental Assessment

  • Kent Black

    Kent Black P.E.

    Executive Vice President Contact
Tippah County, MS, United States of America
Mississippi Department of Transportation

GS&P was selected to lead the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) on improvements to a segment of SR 15, from County Road 312 North to just north of the SR 15/US 72 intersection in Tippah County, Mississippi. The project area is within and adjacent to the Town of Walnut, which is the northernmost town in Tippah County. 

The existing segment of SR 15 is a north-south, two-lane state highway that serves industrial and residential areas in Tippah County and also functions as a north-south corridor for commuters. The purpose of the proposed project is to correct geometric deficiencies and improve safety for travelers through the area; to address existing and future traffic needs; to provide a linkage route for north-south traffic between US 72 and Interstate 22 (US 78); and to widen SR 15 to comply with the legislative mandate to develop four-lane highways within the state.

The NEPA Environmental Assessment included analysis of the selected alternative and consideration of numerous issues: present and future traffic patterns, impacts to the natural and built environments, sensitive cultural sites, and the needs of citizens and businesses in Walnut, Tippah County and the surrounding area. Alternative B-1 proposed improving existing two-lane SR 15 to four-lane and five-lane sections of roadway along existing SR 15. Alternative B-2 proposed improving existing two-lane SR 15 to four-lane and five-lane sections of roadway along existing SR 15 and replacing the current at-grade intersection at US 72 with a grade-separated interchange. Alternative C proposed bypassing Walnut to the west with a divided four-lane section, crossing US 72 with a grade-separated interchange approximately 0.8 mile west of the existing SR 15/US 72 intersection. Public and agency scoping meetings as well as a public hearing were conducted to solicit input regarding the selection of the preferred alternative. As a result of the hearing, Alternative B-1 was selected as the preferred alternative. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed on January 19, 2013.

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