By Carlie Kollath Wells/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Construction on a permanent three-lane Main Street won’t start before April or May, according to a downtown Tupelo leader.
Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, told the group’s board during Tuesday’s meeting that she doesn’t anticipate any construction before then. And, she said, the bridges will be the first part of the project to be tackled.
The downtown group has been spearheading an enhancement project that would permanently convert a section of Main Street from four lanes to two lanes with a center turning lane and bike lanes in each direction. The road was temporarily restriped in March 2011 to test the new configuration.
The project also includes a bike trail that would connect downtown to the Elvis Presley Birthplace.
Plus, the $2.9 million enhancement project adds pedestrian amenities. Federal sources are funding 80 percent of the project and the city of Tupelo is funding the 20 percent match.
Brangenberg told the board Tuesday that she’s on schedule with the paperwork to start advertising for bids after Jan. 1. She said she’s coordinating with the Major Thoroughfare Committee to make sure construction will reduce any impact on traffic for businesses and the Elvis Presley Festival.
Once construction starts, leaders say it could take 18 to 24 months to finish the project.