New Albany, MS – A section of State Route 15 North in Union County is now known as the “John David Pennebaker Memorial Highway” after officials held a dedication ceremony today.
Pennebaker served as state representative for 17 years, mayor of New Albany for two terms, briefly as chancery clerk for Union County and justice court judge for Union County during his career.
During his 17 years as legislator, Pennebaker was instrumental in the 1987 Four-Lane Highway Bill which provided funding for over 1,000 miles of state highway. Then Governor Bill Allain vetoed the bill. Pennebaker then mustered the votes in both house of the state legislature to override Allain’s veto. In 1992, he also led the bill creating the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert joined Rep. Margaret Rogers, U. S. District Judge Michael Mills and other family and guests to dedicate the highway at a ceremony held at Ebenezer ARP Presbyterian in Cotton Plant. John David Pennebaker’s direct ancestors were among the founders of the church in 1842. He is buried in the church cemetery.
“Mr. Pennebaker was a dedicated public servant,” Tagert said. “After serving in the Army National Guard, he spent his entire life in service to Union County and Mississippi. His leadership and the landmark 1987 Highway Bill created the foundation for a safe and efficient transportation system that we continue to build on today and into the future.”
The section of State Route 15 North begins at the New Albany city limits and continues to the Tippah County line. It was authorized by House Bill 756, introduced in the 2018 Legislative Session and signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) installed highway signs to mark the highway.
–Much of this article from Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).