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State approves $160M to expand Highway 7 to four lanes in Lafayette County

State lawmakers have approved $160 million to go toward widening Highway 7 to four lanes in one of the fastest-growing regions of the state.

According to Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, the investment paired with an additional $15M appropriated in 2023 will allow for the additional lanes on Highway 7 South from the Belk Boulevard intersection to the Highway7/9 roundabout.

The funding was made available by the unanimous passage of House Bill 1826 on Friday. Tannehill said residents and leaders in Lafayette County have called for this expansion for decades.

“For 25 years, city and county officials have lobbied our state and federal officials to provide funding for the widening of Highway 7. For 25 years, there have been traffic studies, accident reports, loved ones lost, tragedy after tragedy, begging and pleading for help,” Tannehill wrote on Facebook. “For 25 years we’ve waited. THE WAIT IS OVER!! (Not really…it’ll take a minute…but we are on our way!)”

Lafayette County is the fastest-growing county in Mississippi percentage-wise, according to the mayor. The city of Oxford has grown 102% since 2000 and is projected to grow another 24% by 2030, making renovations to Highway 7 essential for those in the region.

To help secure the funding to create additional lanes on the highway, Tannehill invited state lawmakers, including Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, to visit and witness a busy portion of the highway during rush hour traffic. The mayor contends that she was able to capture the attention of the movers and shakers at the capitol to see the project through.

“This was my top transportation infrastructure priority when I was elected in 2017,” Tannehill continued. “The city and county have worked diligently for so many years towards this goal. We knew that it would only happen with a coordinated effort and partnership with our state leaders. We did it! We finally did it! And, I am so grateful.”

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