By Joe Rutherford | Daily Journal
Work started with a bang on July 5 on the new Highway 9 from Sherman to Pontotoc, and last week most of the dirt work was complete and work continued “dead ahead” on bridges, MDOT district engineer Bill Jamieson reported.
The $87.5 million project won by Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen was at least 44 percent complete and 100 days ahead of schedule in early fall, and Jamieson said that pace has been maintained.
“I think you will see it finished by September,” the longtime engineer said Tuesday.
The full cost of the new road, tagged an economic priority under the Mississippi Development Authority, was raised in a single bond issue.
The design-and-build concept allows continuous funding of every sector of the 12-mile route as work falls due. Eutaw also stands to make as much as $5 million in performance-based incentives.
The 12-mile, four-lane artery linking U.S. 78 and Magnolia Way at Sherman with Mississippi Highway 6 near Pontotoc is taking shape faster than any other highway built in the region. The $87.5 million design-and-build contract, personally backed and sought by Gov. Haley Barbour, was awarded to Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen and has the force of official economic urgency behind it. It is a major transport link serving the newly activated Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi assembly plant at Blue Springs.
“I think people will be able to make their trips to Oxford by the fall on the new route,” Jamieson said, referring to the heavy use of the existing highway by sports fans traveling to the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.