TUPELO, MS – the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $35,757,000 to the National Park Service for improvements to the Natchez Trace Parkway. This funding will allow for the restoration of a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 291-331 in Tishomingo county, MS, Colbert county, AL, and an area at the very southernmost point of Lauderdale county, AL. As part of the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) program, it will involve heavy resurfacing, renovation, and rehabilitation to improve the pavement conditions of the parkway. Two National Park Service programs will augment the grant funds for a total of just over $40 million.

Chief Ranger, Sarah Davis, expressed her excitement about the project by stating that in addition to improving the pavement condition, this project will also address safety issues on the Parkway. “In recent years, more than 40% of injury crashes along the Parkway involved a lane departure,” stated Davis. “A Road Safety Audit conducted by Department of Transportation recommended addressing these lane departure crashes with audible pavement markings to alert motorists when they leave their travel lane. This project will improve Parkway safety by adding raised profile stripes to both the fog line and the center striping.”

The project will also apply Safety Edge to the edges of the asphalt where heavy 3R work is done. By providing a 30-degree angle between the Parkway and the unpaved shoulder, Safety Edge allows drivers to re-enter the roadway safely, and drivers are less likely to lose control of their vehicle and cross into oncoming traffic.