By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton stood near Crosstown Monday to share the city’s attempt to balance closing the city’s busiest intersection this weekend with three events expected to draw thousands of visitors.
BNSF Railway officials recently proposed repair of loose railroad tracks at the Gloster and Main street intersection. Shelton said the seriousness of railroad repairs justifies closing a key intersection during a busy weekend.
City leaders encourage planning alternate routes unless drivers and pedestrians must travels to businesses located immediately at the intersection.
“It’s not the most ideal weekend for Crosstown to close,” Shelton said during an afternoon news conference. “But I’m asking for as much public support and cooperation as possible.”
The intersection will remain closed until until all repairs end, likely around noon on Monday, Shelton said. Further delays could depend on weather conditions.
Tupelo police and public works employees will direct Crosstown traffic this weekend to alternate routes to navigate around the intersection.
“You can get around, but it’s going to be really crowded,” said Chuck Williams, Tupelo Public Works director.
Downtown Tupelo will host the inaugural NOleput festival on Saturday, along with the Color Vibe 5K earlier in the day. Also, BancorpSouth Arena will host a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus from Thursday until Sunday. Each event is expected to draw thousands of attendees.
Infrastructure problems below the railroad tracks causing loose tracks has caused damage to vehicles. BNSF Railway officials made repairs to areas causing problems in July but city officials called the fix a “Band-Aid.”
Before summer repairs, City Hall received more than 40 complaints related to the intersection. At least one driver filed a police report after a tire blew out after crossing the railroad.
BNSF Railway is expected to pay all costs for repairs. A company spokesman was not available for comment.