Coley Road/U.S. 78 bridge work to start

town_tupelo_greenBy Joe Rutherford

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Construction of a new bridge sending Coley Road Extended across U.S. Highway 78/Interstate 22 could begin by the end of next week, a Mississippi Department of Transportation official said Friday.

The new bridge, the final link in the new “Northern Loop” road to route traffic toward the Barnes Crossing commercial district, is slated for completion by November under contract terms.

Century Construction of Tupelo won the $10.515 million award. The contract has been in final plan phases since November, and a notice to proceed was issued this week by MDOT, Tupelo District Construction Engineer Jamie McDonald said in an interview with the Daily Journal.

In addition to the bridge, this project also will construct four interchange ramps at the U.S. 78 and Coley Road intersection, MDOT’s news release reported.

“The goal of this project is to relieve some of the traffic pressure on U.S. 45 and Barnes Crossing Road,” said Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “This new interchange will provide motorists traveling east toward Tupelo on U.S. 78 another route to the Barnes Crossing area. We ask for your patience as we work to improve your commute in Lee County.”

Construction of the Northern Loop is part of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program.

The project will involve lane and road closures, but the major closures will be at night. Once work begins, motorists should expect delays.

McDonald said a main goal is to have the new road opened before major holiday shopping traffic begins.

joe.rutherford@journalinc.com