Steen wants to abandon work in Madison

Steen wants to abandon work in Madison


Madison County Board of Supervisors President Gerald Steen wants to abandon Bozeman Road work inside the city of Madison to focus more on road improvements that are “100 percent in the county.”

Steen, the District 3 supervisor from Ridgeland, told fellow supervisors on Tuesday that he believes the real traffic problems are in the Gluckstadt area and focusing on Phase II of Bozeman Road will be a better solution to traffic problems. 

As of 2022, there were over 22,000 vehicles per day that travel Bozeman Road, up from 17,000 vehicles per day in 2016.

The widening of Bozeman Road is a project that dates back over a decade and was initially billed as a $10-$12 million project that has since ballooned to nearly $40 million. Work was supposed to begin in 2022 and 2023, but was delayed repeatedly. 

District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter said nearly $10 million has been spent so far, about $6 million by the county and about $4 million by utility providers who have moved poles and gas lines. 

“My major thing is moving traffic,” Steen said as he was challenged by Baxter and newly-seated District 1 Supervisor Casey Brannon. 

Steen said he wants to focus on roadway improvements on Stribling Road and Catlett Road to move traffic down the interstate from there. 

Bozeman Phase I

Phase I of Bozeman Road dates back to as early as 2013, with an initial estimate of about $10-$12 million. In 2016, engineers were hired for the phase that initially was from Mississippi 463 in Madison to Reserve Crossing and the new cost estimate was closer to $30 million. 

The scope of the project changed to continue past Reserve Crossing and move north to end at Reunion Parkway, which also increased the size of the project. 

At present, all right-of-way has been acquired and the majority of utility lines have been relocated. County Engineer Tim Bryan told supervisors on Tuesday the project was essentially shovel-ready.

One bidder responded to an RFP last fall and the bid came in at over $37 million, which the board ultimately rejected. 

Bozeman Phase II

Phase II of Bozeman Road will run from Reunion Parkway to just south of Gluckstadt Road. 

Bryan said that the environmental work has been completed and the next step is purchasing right-of-way. He said he would possibly have a contract amendment to move forward with that process in March. 

County Administrator Greg Higginbotham said that part of the process would be about 12-15 months. 

Initial estimates for the cost of Phase 2 are set at $24.5 million. 


Madison County has received a considerable amount of money from outside sources for Bozeman Road. The state has given the county $7.5 million for the project. The federal government has given $4 million for the project. The Metropolitan Planning Organization has given $4.4 million, and the county has already contributed $5 million. 

Baxter said he specifically requested language from the Legislature to earmark the money for Phase I, but Higginbotham told supervisors there were two interpretations. 

The language in two different funding bills stated, “making improvements to Bozeman Road, beginning at its intersection with Mississippi Highway 463 and proceeding north.”

Baxter and Brannon contend the intent and the interpretation is that the $7.5 million in state funds is specifically earmarked for Phase I since it begins at Mississippi 463. 

Higginbotham told supervisors that he spoke with someone at the Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees how the money is spent, and was told that the money could be used on any section of Bozeman Road north of 463. 


Baxter said Steen was trying to pull a “bait-and-switch” by abandoning a road that was engineered to engineer another road, with no construction complete, referring to the era of former County Engineer Rudy Warnock who is currently under federal indictment for bribery charges and wire fraud. 

“This bait-and-switch in designing a road and stopping before construction is an old trick that’s been used in Madison County for years and years,” he said. “We’re right back where we were 10 years ago.”

Baxter said it was “time to build a road out.”

Baxter made his comments after seconding a motion by Brannon to re-advertise Phase I. Steen and District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin voted against, ending in a tie due to the absence of District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks. 

Brannon had argued that there is a shovel-ready project that could give traffic relief to Madison County residents by 2026. He said abandoning the project now doesn’t get anything done until a new board term in 2028 at the earliest. 

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions