Mississippi Highway 198 (MS 198) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The highway is the designation for six former segments of U.S. Highway 98 (US 98) that have been bypassed by newer alignments. These six segments are located in Tylertown, Columbia, Hattiesburg, Beaumont, McLain, and Lucedale. Five of the six sections of MS 198 are two-lane undivided roads that pass through small towns; the exception is the Hattiesburg section which is a four-lane divided highway running through developed areas of the city. The total length of the six sections of MS 198 is 24.937 miles (40.132 km).
What is now MS 198 originally existed as gravel and earth roads by the 1920s. The portions of the current road became parts of MS 24 and MS 15 in the 1930s and were all paved by the 1940s. US 98 was designated on these segments in 1955. Between the 1970s and 1990s, US 98 was rerouted to bypass Tylertown, Columbia, Hattiesburg, Beaumont, McLain, and Lucedale. By 1998, MS 198 was designated onto the former alignment of US 98 through these communities. The McLain section was truncated from US 98 east of town to MS 57 in 2005.
The Tylertown section of MS 198 begins at an intersection with US 98 northwest of Tylertown in Walthall County, heading southeast on two-lane undivided Beluah Avenue. The road passes through wooded areas with some homes and businesses. After passing to the south of Walthall County General Hospital, MS 198 comes to an intersection with MS 48, at which point that highway begins a concurrency with MS 198. The two highways continue southeast into Tylertown, curving east into residential areas. The road heads into the commercial downtown and comes to an intersection with MS 27. The highway passes more businesses before leaving the downtown and heading into wooded areas with some homes. MS 48 splits from MS 198 by heading southeast, with MS 198 continuing east past residences and commercial establishments on Old Highway 98 East. The road leaves Tylertown and heads northeast through wooded areas with some homes. This section of MS 198 ends at another intersection with US 98.
The Columbia section of MS 198 begins at an intersection with US 98/MS 44 southwest of Columbia in Marion County, heading northeast on two-lane undivided South High School Avenue. The road passes through woodland, curving north into Columbia. In Columbia, the route becomes concurrent with MS 13. Here, the highway heads past several businesses before turning east onto Broad Street and splitting off of MS 13. MS 198 heads through residential areas, coming to an intersection with MS 44. The road continues east through wooded areas with some homes and businesses as Old Highway 98 East, ending at an intersection with US 98 east of Columbia.
The Beaumont section of MS 198 begins at an intersection with US 98 within the DeSoto National Forest northwest of Beaumont in Perry County, heading east on a two-lane undivided road. The highway heads through dense forests, curving southeast near a few homes as it runs a short distance to the southwest of a Canadian National railroad line. The road passes through more forests before entering Beaumont, where it heads near a mix of residences and businesses. MS 198 turns northeast to cross the railroad line and come to an intersection with MS 15. At this point, MS 198 turns southeast to form a concurrency with MS 15, leaving Beaumont for dense forests and running to the northeast of the Canadian National railroad line. The road curves south and ends at an interchange with US 98 southeast of Beaumont.
The McLain section of MS 198 begins at an intersection with US 98 northwest of McLain in Greene County, heading southeast on two-lane undivided West Main Street. The road heads through wooded areas with some homes, entering McLain. The highway passes through residential and commercial areas in the town. MS 198 continues through woodland with some development a short distance to the northeast of a Canadian National railroad line, ending at an intersection with MS 57.
The Lucedale section of MS 198 begins at an intersection with US 98 northwest of Lucedale in George County, heading southeast on two-lane undivided Main Street. The road heads through dense forests with some homes, passing under a Canadian National railroad line. The highway continues through more rural areas, heading more to the east and passing under MS 63, at which point the railroad tracks run immediately to the north of the road. MS 198 curves southeast away from the tracks into more forests, eventually entering Lucedale. The road heads through wooded areas of homes before turning east and passing through the commercial downtown. In this area, the highway intersects the eastern terminus of MS 26 and the northern terminus of MS 613. The road leaves Lucedale, crossing a Canadian National railroad line and heading into a mix of farmland and woodland with some development. This section of MS 198 ends at another intersection with US 98 east of Lucedale.
The current alignments of MS 198 existed by 1928 as unnumbered roads. The sections in Tylertown, Columbia, Hattiesburg, and Beaumont were gravel roads and the sections in McLain and Lucedale were unimproved roads. By 1932, what is now MS 198 in Tylertown, Columbia, Hattiesburg, Beaumont, and McLain became a part of MS 24, which ran east-west across the southern part of the state. The section of road in McLain became a gravel road by 1933. In 1935, the road west of Tylertown became paved. MS 15 was designated onto MS 24 east of Beaumont and in McLain and what is now the Lucedale portion of MS 198 in 1936. A year later, the portion of road east of Lucedale was paved. In 1938, the portion of current MS 198 southwest of Columbia was paved. The road east of Tylertown was paved by 1939. In 1940, a new alignment of MS 24 between McComb and Tylertown was under construction, which included what is now MS 198 northwest of Tylertown. Also by this time, the road between Columbia and MS 44 was paved. In 1941, the portions of road in Hattiesburg, east of Beaumont, in McLain, and northwest of Lucedale were paved. The road west of Beaumont was paved in 1943. The portion of MS 24 between McComb and Tylertown was completed as a paved road in 1944. In 1955, US 98 was extended into Mississippi, replacing the MS 24 and MS 15 designations on what is now MS 198.
By 1973, the road bypassed Columbia. In 1984, US 98 was routed to bypass Hattiesburg on I-59 and a new freeway. A bypass to the north of Tylertown was built for US 98 in 1985. US 98 was moved to a new alignment to bypass Lucedale in 1988. In 1996, US 98 was routed out of Beaumont and McLain as a result of the construction of a new alignment on a divided highway. By 1998, MS 198 was marked on the six former alignments of US 98 in Tylertown, Columbia, Hattiesburg, Beaumont, McLain, and Lucedale. In 2005, the eastern terminus of the McLain section of MS 198 was truncated from US 98 to MS 57.