Hattiesburg Begins Construction on Significant Infrastructure Improvements for MLK Avenue

Hattiesburg Begins Construction on Significant Infrastructure Improvements for MLK Avenue

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann joined Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker to announce the beginning of a significant infrastructure project along Martin Luther King Avenue, encompassing the replacement of water and sewer lines.

This project is one of nine infrastructure project areas funded by money allocated to the City through the American Rescue Plan Act. The project is also funded by a dollar-for-dollar match, established by the Mississippi Municipality and County Water Infrastructure (MCWI) Grant Program created through Senate Bill 2822 during the 2022 legislative session.

“These water and sewer improvements on Martin Luther King Avenue and surrounding streets comprise the first of many projects in Hattiesburg funded with federal ARPA and state MCWI support,” said Barker. “This combination of federal and state funds are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in aging infrastructure, and we believe these new systems will build and sustain momentum for years to come.”

In total, this project will consist of replacing undersized and aging sewer mains, water mains and water service lines. The specific streets and what will occur include:

Sewer and Water Main Replacement

  • Martin Luther King Avenue

Sewer Main Replacement

  • May Avenue
  • Independence Avenue
  • Katie Avenue
  • Eastside Avenue
  • Harrell Street
  • Townsend Street
  • Francis Street
  • Florence Street
  • Royal Street
  • Yeagers Alley
  • Dossett Avenue

Water Main Replacement

  • Ruby Avenue
  • Charles Street
  • John Street
  • Cypress Avenue

Water Service Line Replacement

  • Cypress Avenue

The cost of these improvements is $4,076,780.50, with $3,786,232 covered by ARPA and MCWI funding. The project will take approximately 18 months to complete, depending on the weather.

After the Mississippi Legislature allocated statewide ARPA money as a matching opportunity for local municipalities to use their ARPA allocations through the MCWI program in 2022, Hattiesburg officials began to identify possible projects in the city that would qualify. 

During the first grant period in September 2022, the City was awarded funding for three project sites. During the second grant period in mid-2023, six additional projects qualified and were added to the queue.

Spending ARPA funding on infrastructure improvements was reflected through feedback during an engagement survey initiated in the Summer of 2022. 

Barker added, “When we sought our residents’ input on how ARPA funding should be spent, 67% of more than 300 respondents marked infrastructure as a priority category for funding, validating the growing need for more investment in the City’s water, sewer and stormwater systems.”

City officials will announce timelines for the eight additional projects granted through ARPA and MCWI funding when projects go to bid and agreements are signed by the Hattiesburg City Council.