TUPELO – Mississippi Department of Transportation officials plan to cut a ribbon at 10 a.m. today marking “completion” of the new Mississippi Highway 6/U.S. 278.
But the new, final link in the Tupelo to Batesville route won’t open to traffic for a few more days because of weather delays.
The highway from east of Pontotoc to Batesville has been open for several years.
MDOT has scheduled the ribbon cutting event on the roadway at the Graham Road/New Highway 6 Interchange, with an alternate rain-site in Tupelo City Hall’s council chambers, if needed.
“The completion of this section of Highway 6 is a major milestone,” Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert said in a news release. “This connection will not only increase safety by allowing 18-wheelers to travel on four-lanes from Highway 45 to I-55, but it will also help promote economic growth and development by allowing the efficient movement of goods through the region.”
MDOT spokesman Jerry Long in the Tupelo office said officials hope to be able to announce a highway opening date at the ribbon-cutting event.
MDOT’S press release said completion “will provide safe and efficient access to regional employment, shopping and educational and medical facilities, and provide an opportunity for future growth in the industrial area of the Pontotoc-Union-Lee (PUL) Alliance. It will assist with the movement of goods through the region by serving as a West-East connector between I-55 in Panola County and Highway 45 in Lee County.”
The $68 million project from Highway 342 in Pontotoc County to U.S. 45 has been funded by state and federal governments and the Appalachian Developmental Highway System, under the umbrella of the 13-state Appalachian Regional Commission.