A ceremony in New Albany on Friday, October 23, will mark the naming of Interstate-22 (I-22) in Mississippi.
MDOT is expected to have in place by that date new signs similar to the one illustrated above.
Extending from Birmingham, Alabama to Byhalia, Mississippi, I-22 generally follows the route of the road designated as “Highway 78” in 1926.
The process of upgrading Highway 78 to Interstate standards could be said to have started in 1978 when the U.S. Congress designated the part of the road just east of Fulton, Mississippi, as “Corridor X.” The 1995 National Highway Designation Act further clarified the commitment to upgrading the highway to I-22. For several years highway signs in Mississippi have marked the freeway from the Mississippi/Alabama line to Byhalia as “Future I-22.”
The familiar Interstate 22 “badge” signs from just west of Birmingham to the Mississippi state line were in place more than a year ago, although the four-lane link connecting I-22 to I-65 north of downtown Birmingham was not yet complete.
Mississippi Highway officials announced May 5, 2015 that Mississippi had started the process to officially designate its portion of the road as I-22. It is not clear why the designation took a year longer in Mississippi than in Alabama. It is interesting to note that U.S. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama (affectionately known in that state as “Lord Shelby”) is the senior member of the Senate Transportation Committee.
It is also interesting that the designation of I-22 in Mississippi comes just ten days prior to the general election in which the incumbent Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert, a Republican, will face Democrat challenger Danny Woods from Winona. However, Tagert is expected to soundly thrash Woods, so the incumbent may receive no political benefit from the fortuitous timing of the happy announcement.
But we digress.
The October 23 ceremony is to take place late morning at New Albany’s new world-class tennis complex, from which I-22 is easily visible. NAnewsweb.com will publish the exact time of the event when it is set. A large crowd of dignitaries and citizens is expected.