RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – On Tuesday, May 31, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representative Michael Guest announced the approval of a $1.5 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The grant will help construct a new rail crossing on Highway 18 in Brandon, Mississippi. The project would eliminate an at-grade crossing and replace it with a grade-separated bridge and additional travel lane over the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS).

“For far too long, drivers along Highway 18 looking to get to school, the airport, or to work have faced delays because of the current rail crossing in Brandon. Improving this crossing will play a key role in reducing congestion, improving safety, and boosting commerce in Rankin County as it continues to grow,” Wicker said.

The project is expected to improve travel time for both commuters and KCS operations, while eliminating crashes at the crossing. The project is considered essential, as daily trips in the area are estimated to increase 49 percent and rail traffic by almost 70 percent by 2040.