Frog Level Road in front of the Choctaw hospital that’s under construction is being connected with the county’s Frog Level Road just to the east.
Frog Level Road in front of the Choctaw hospital that’s under construction is being connected with the county’s Frog Level Road just to the east.
Construction to extend an improved Frog Level Road to the Choctaw Indian Reservation is scheduled to be completed before year's end, thanks to a decade-old federal earmark.

The overall project is a cooperative effort between Neshoba County and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians that will provide alternative access to the new Tribal hospital and industrial park.

The project, being funded by federal monies awarded to the Tribe, is expected to be completed by November.

Preliminary design and engineering work first began on the road in 2003 when the Tribe received funding from Congress under the Public Lands Highways Discretionary Program.

Under this program, the section of Frog Level Road or county Road 2610 located on Tribal lands was improved as part of Phase 1.

Phase 2 of the construction has two components, designated as "pre-construction" and "construction" on the county-owned portion of Frog Level Road. The "pre-construction" component ended a couple months ago and the "construction" component has now begun.

Neshoba County Administrator Benjie Coats said the construction was moving along as scheduled, with workers currently putting in necessary drainage structures.

The completed project will be a two-lane, asphalt road of a higher quality than the road currently is. When work is complete, the road will connect all the way through to the new Choctaw hospital and industrial park.

After 11 years, Coats believes they have finally worked out a final plan for construction of the road.

"Through several different developments and trying to make the project as doable as possible, this is basically what we're down to now," Coats said.

"This was determined to be the best win-win situation with the construction of the new Choctaw hospital to have secondary access to the industrial road, hospital and those areas."

The Tribe will handle all construction and provide the county with updates on the progress.

"The county is providing the Tribe with a construction permit and easement," he said. "Upon completion, the county-owned portion of that will be turned back over to the county for maintenance purposes."

The Tribe has reimbursed the county for its expenses related to the project so far, including right-of-way, temporary construction easements and drainage easements. The Tribe has also reimbursed the county for real estate appraisals.

As part of the transition for the county to take over maintenance of its section of the road, the Tribe's contractor's work will be warranted for one year after completion. After that year, the county will assume all maintenance and repair duties of its section of the road with the Tribe under no further obligation to share costs for the work.