One June 5th, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced the establishment of the Gulf Coast Scenic Byway and the William Faulkner Scenic Byway, and the addition of a new segment to the Delta Bluffs Scenic Byway.
During the 2015 Regular Session, the Mississippi Legislature passed legislation naming the two new scenic byways..
“The Mississippi Scenic Byways Program showcases the natural beauty and history of our state,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “The towns along these byways provide a glimpse into Mississippi’s past and are a vital part of our state’s future. Travelers will experience history firsthand as they travel along the routes and through the towns of our scenic byways.”
House Bill 1013, sponsored by Reps. Brad Mayo (District 12), Randall Patterson (District 115) and John W. Hines, Sr. (District 50), designates routes in Lafayette and Union Counties as the “William Faulkner Scenic Byway.” It begins at the intersection of Hwy. 30 and County Road 14 in Union County and continues west along Hwy. 30 to its intersection with County Road 229 in Lafayette County.
MDOT defines the Mississippi Scenic Byways Program as a grassroots effort designed to increase the focus on Mississippi’s history and intrinsic resources. The intent of the program is to identify and designate highway, road and street corridors as scenic byways in an attempt to preserve, enhance and protect the state’s intrinsic resources for visitors and residents of the state.
The Faulkner Scenic byway was championed by tourism officials in New Albany and Oxford. The route connects the Nobel Prize-winning Faulkner’s birthplace in New Albany with Oxford, where he spent much of his life. The scenic byway will give visitors a taste of the north Mississippi Hill County which figured prominently in much of Faulkner’s work. In fact, parts of the rural route will offer scenes changed very little from many of Faulkner’s settings.
Mike Tagert, Transportation Commissioner, said that the scenic byway will “showcase the beauty of this part of our state which inspired so many of Faulkner’s stories,” and that it will serve to “pay tribute to an iconic Mississippian.”