Millions in federal funds announced for repairs at Vicksburg National Military Park
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith announced Thursday the awarding of more than $22.7 million in emergency relief funding for repairs and reconstruction of federal roadways damaged earlier in the year due to heavy rains and flooding.
Some of those federal roadways included in the measure are damaged roads within the Vicksburg National Military Park.
Among the five Federal Highway Administration awards is $8 million for the National Park Service for needed repairs within the park and the Natchez Trace National Parkway.
Hyde-Smith toured the damage with the Vicksburg National Military Park during a visit to Vicksburg in February.
“Sen. Hyde-Smith has been a true advocate for us since touring the severe damage to the park following storms earlier this year,” said Bess Averett, executive director of the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign. “This critical funding will help make initial gains in repairing our park road system and restoring our park fully to the public.
“We have a long road ahead due to the extent of the damage, but with the priority and focus given by Senator Hyde-Smith, I am more confident than ever before in a solution,” Averett said. “Seeing support at the highest levels of government for this hallowed ground is a testament to how important this place is to our nation’s history.”
“Nothing is more important than preserving the graves of those who made this country great,” Hyde-Smith said.
The National Cemetery at the Military Park was closed Feb. 11 after the cemetery’s maintenance crew noticed some cracks appearing in the pavement. Two days later, on Feb. 13, the pavement buckled and failed as the road eroded, and part of the slope degraded.
Severe erosion problems also forced the park to close Grant Avenue and Grant and Sherman Circles to vehicles and pedestrians.
“The severe storms and flooding Mississippi experienced earlier this year claimed lives and caused significant damage to federal properties throughout the state,” Hyde-Smith said in a press release from her office announcing the awarded funds. “Damage to the Vicksburg National Military Park, a historic and economic asset to Warren County, was particularly startling.”