Jackson @ SouthEastRoads

The capital of Mississippi, Jackson is the home to 195,906 residents with a metropolitan tally of around 400,000. Situated at the junction of Interstates 20 and 55, the city is located along the Pearl River and is home to Jackson State University and Mississippi Public Radio (MPR).

Connecting Vicksburg with Meridian in Mississippi, Interstate 20 traverses the southern portions of the city of Jackson, framing downtown with Interstate 55 to the south and east. The freeway carries four lanes overall, with a recently reconstructed six lane portion from Interstate 220 east to U.S. 49 at Pearl. The highway retains sound barriers south of downtown, and an overall 65 mph speed limit. A stack interchange facilitates the departure of Interstate 55 north from Interstate 20. This three-level interchange is locally known as "The Stack". The freeway also serves Jackson International Airport east of the city at Pearl.

Mississippi @ SouthEastRoads - Interstate 20

The main north-south corridor for the state of Mississippi is Interstate 55. What Interstate 65 is for Alabama, Interstate 55 is for Mississippi. The highway links the major metropolitan areas of New Orleans and Memphis outside the state with Jackson and small cities such as Grenada and McComb. The freeway enters the metropolitan area with four lanes from the south. A two mile overlap with Interstate 20 consists of six lanes and is heavily traveled. At "The Stack" Interstate 55 resumes its northerly trajectory east of downtown towards Ridgeland. The freeway retains six lanes northward to Interstate 220, with a widening project underway north throughout the corporate limits of Ridgeland. Frontage roads accompany a rather large right-of-way of Interstate 55 while overlapped with U.S. 51 in the city.

Interstate 55 northbound onramp from McDowell Road eastbound at the Exit 92A interchange. Grenada is the northbound control city on most Interstate 55 related signage. The city itself is home to 10,864 residents and is situated midway between Jackson and what should be the control city of Memphis, Tennessee. The Interstate 55 southbound control city in the Memphis area is Jackson. An Interstate 20 trailblazer is shown, as the next interchange on northbound is the merge with Interstate 20 east. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Interstate 55 shield and guide sign on County Line Road eastbound in north Jackson. Interstate 220 is displayed as the next northbound interchange (Exit 104) is for that freeway. The Frontage Road traffic must turn onto to access Interstate 55 is also the road that takes U.S. 51 off of of the freeway from the south into the northern suburb of Ridgeland (pop. 11,714). Photo taken 04/14/02.

Mississippi @ SouthEastRoads - Interstate 55

Creates a half-beltway serving the northern and western portions of the city, Interstate 220 carries a 70 MPH speed limit throughout. The freeway consists of four lanes overall, with construction underway between U.S. 80/Exit 1 and U.S. 49/Exit 5. The Interstate is situated far enough from downtown that the landscape is rural/suburban hodgepodge. The northern terminus occurs at a three-level stack interchange with Interstate 55. The actual pavement along the 11.60 mile freeway is some of the worse that we have ever driven.

Mississippi @ SouthEastRoads - Interstate 220

The U.S. route has been siphoned by the Jackson area Interstates for the most part. U.S. 49 enters the metropolitan area at Richland from the south, carrying traffic from Hattiesburg, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and points eastward along the northern Gulf of Mexico coastline. The highway is four lanes and divided south of Interstate 20 to the terminus at U.S. 90. Speed limits are generally 65 mph with lower limits in build up areas. The highway originally traveled along U.S. 80 to downtown, and continued northwestward Woodrow Wilson Avenue towards present day Interstate 220. The freeway now follows Interstate 20 west through the Interstate 55 overlap to Interstate 220. At Interstate 220, the U.S. route turns northward to a resumption of its original street level routing at Exit 5. Northwest of the city, U.S. 49 migrates towards Yazoo City, retaining four divided lanes.

Mississippi @ SouthEastRoads - U.S. Highway 49

Similar to U.S. 49, U.S. 51 also has been removed from most of its street level path through the capital city of Mississippi. The highway is overlapped with Interstate 55 from Terry (Exit 78) northward to Interstate 20. The highway departs Interstate 55 briefly, spurring as an expressway into downtown. After flirting with downtown for a short stretch, the U.S. route again gravitates towards Interstate 55. It is not until Exit 103 (near Interstate 220), that the two finally part way for good.

Contrary to some maps, U.S. 51 is indeed a freeway after it leaves the Interstate 20/55 confluence towards downtown. This is one of two northbound exits. Gallatin Street cuts a northerly swath along the west end of downtown while traversing relatively blighted areas. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Looking in the southbound (facing west at this point) is signage for the same ramp to Interstate 20/55. The return ramp to U.S. 51 north can be seen entering the picture from the left. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Detail of this vintage Interstate 55 Mississippi shield on U.S. 51 southbound. Markings on the back of this sign indicated an installation of September 29, 1985. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Northbound U.S. 51 at U.S. 80 south of downtown Jackson. The two highways intersect via a parclo interchange on the left. U.S. 80 has already begun its crossing of the River of Pearls to the east. The concrete of U.S. 51 continues northward towards downtown on State Street. U.S. 80 has no access with nearby Interstate 55, and carries no name other then "Highway 80". To the right of the U.S. 51 grade are wetlands associated with the river. Photo taken 04/14/02.

U.S. 80, unlike its counterparts U.S. 49 and 51, still follows its original directions through Jackson. The highway generally serves local traffic throughout. However, it does offer an alternative into downtown from the eastern suburbs, complete with a partial interchange at U.S. 51. At Interstate 220, the highway opens up for commercial strip mall development, a process duplicated in the Pearl and Richland vicinities. The bridge over the River of Pearls retains a 1950s feel, with concrete guard rails and an old style architecture.

Junction Interstate 220 Mississippi shield, posted on U.S. 80 eastbound near the Exit 1A/B junction with the freeway. U.S. 80 follows a four lane divided highway through western reaches of the metropolitan area. Unfortunately economic decay is evident along the stretch of highway near Interstate 220. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Omitted in the above junction shield, but included on this sign bridge, is the fact that Interstate 220 carries U.S. 49 for the first fives miles from Interstate 20. The U.S. route bypasses its street level routing in order to direct through traffic away from downtown. The highway leaves Interstate 220 at Exit 5B for Yazoo City. Photo taken 04/14/02.
U.S. 80 eastbound at the Interstate 220/U.S. 49 northbound cloverleaf ramp. Continuing east on U.S. 80 is more-of-the-same type scenery as witnessed west of the interchange. Interstate 220 is given the control cities of North Jackson and West Jackson from Interstates 20 and 55 respectively, but has no control points listed at intersecting roadways. Photo taken 04/14/02.

Pascagoula Street

Pascagoula Street travels along the southern boundary of the central business district of Jackson. It is shown as a freeway spurring into downtown from Interstate 55/Exit 96A to State Street on some maps. This freeway is essentially just a pair of long access ramps for the Interstate. The ramps do not interact with a nearby railroad line and dump traffic into downtown at State Street/former U.S. 51.

A look at the central business district and downtown Jackson from Pascagoula Street eastbound. The high-rises feature a mixture of old and new architecture, all of which shroud the capital complex and dome at the center. To the west the situation is a bit more grim, with many abandoned buildings and dilapidated infrastructure. The River of Pearls bounds downtown to the east. Photo taken 04/14/02.

Pascagoula Street one-way eastbound at an Interstate 20 trailblazer south of downtown. Photo taken 04/14/02.
At State Street, Pascagoula Street descends into a short urban style tunnel underneath some buildings and a railroad line. After reemerging, the roadway crosses a local street then sees this Interstate 55 sign bridge. At this point, the ramps to Interstate 55 begin, which is shown as a freeway on many maps. A flyover is located in the westbound direction, traveling over the same railroad line that Pascagoula Street descended under. A fairly large median between the two ramps was present, set in a park-like atmosphere. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Pascagoula Street access road at Interstate 55. The roadway retains concrete throughout, with a slim concrete median at this trumpet interchange for Exit 96A of Interstate 55. Photo taken 04/14/02.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Similar to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace Parkway is part of the National Park Service, and is a limited access roadway with few connecting roads. The highway begins at Natchez and travels northeast to Jackson. A gap is situated between the Interstate 20 junction west of the city and Interstate 55 at Ridgeland. Construction is underway at the Interstate 55 stub in relation to the widening project of that freeway. To the northeast, the highway parallels the Ross Barnett Reservoir before departing the Jackson metropolitan area en route to Tupelo and Nashville, Tennessee.

Natchez Trace Parkway sign on the Interstate 55 northbound off-ramp for Exit 105A. At the time of this photograph, the overpass for the parkway over Interstate 55 was closed due to construction. Photo taken 04/14/02.
A mileage sign greets drivers at the end of the Interstate 55 northbound ramp for the Natchez Trace Parkway. Traffic can turn to the left to return to Interstate 55 southbound. Otherwise, to continue southwestward, traffic must take Interstate 55 south to Interstate 220 south to Interstate 20 west Exit 34. It is unclear as to whether the parkway segments will eventually be connected. Photo taken 04/14/02.

Scenes around Jackson

Mississippi State Capital
The Mississippi State Capital complex as seen from West Capital Street. The grounds were fairly deserted on this Saturday afternoon. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Detail of the state capital dome. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Jackson Skyline
These two views look eastward at downtown from Gallatin Street. They show a two sided story with blight in the foreground and some prosperity in the background. Overall for a Saturday late afternoon, the downtown area was virtually empty. This is a saga that is replayed in many small to mid sized cities, with downtown resembling a ghost town after 5 PM on Friday evenings. Unfortunately for Jackson, this appears to be the scenario. Photos taken 04/14/02.
Urban blight at its most prevalent exposure. This high-rise has many windows that are boarded up or broken out. Nature has also begun to overtake this structure, with vegetation ranging from vines to an actual tree growing from the rooftop area (not visible in this photograph). The surrounding low-rise buildings in a similar dire state. This area is located west of downtown. Photo taken 04/14/02.
Terry Street
Terry Street southbound at Exit 43A/B of Interstate 20 sees this shield assembly complete with a pair of Interstate 55 Mississippi shields. The interchange is situated just west of the merge of Interstate 20 eastbound with Interstate 55. Terry Street carries four lanes through this junction, and connects downtown with Jackson State University and south Jackson. The roadway most likely was original U.S. 51 before the highway followed the freeway spur into downtown at State Street. Photos taken 04/14/02.
Continuing southward on Terry Street, is this set of shields and an older style guide sign for the eastbound Interstate 20 ramp. This set of shields includes an Interstate 20 Mississippi shield. The ramp to which these shields points, splits between Interstate 20 east/Interstate 55 north and Interstate 55 south. Grenada is the northbound control city for Interstate 55, McComb the southbound control city of Interstate 55, and Meridian the eastbound control city for Interstate 20. Mississippi has a tendency to promote their own small sized cities over more prominent regional destinations such as New Orleans, Louisiana and Memphis, Tennessee. The westbound control city for Interstate 20, incidentally, is Vicksburg. Photos taken 04/14/02.

Page Updated July 10, 2002.

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