By Joe Rutherford
TUPELO – The final segment of new Mississippi Highway 6/U.S. 278 opened at 11 a.m. Thursday, with traffic immediately flowing steadily on the four-lane route connecting U.S. 45 in south Tupelo with Interstate 55 at Batesville.
Meanwhile, in Tupelo City Hall, officials planned final details of today’s 9 a.m. opening of a significant portion of the Northern Loop road – Barnes Crossing West – between North Gloster and Mount Vernon Road.
The city said in a news release, “A major section of the much-anticipated Northern Loop/Barnes Crossing West road will open … following a ribbon-cutting on the Barnes Crossing West Bridge over the Natchez Trace scheduled for 9 a.m. … The official ribbon-cutting will be held on the west side of the bridge. Those wishing to attend may enter from either North Gloster or from Mount Vernon Road. Traffic will open in both directions after the ceremony.”
On Highway 6, as that new route likely will be known, heavy trucks immediately were seen hauling commercial goods as Mississippi Department of Transportation employees added final touches like new highway signs, roadside spraying and a check of safety striping.
Mississippi Highway Patrol officers, spaced at intervals along the 10-mile, $68 million route from Tupelo to Mississippi 342 in Pontotoc County (Black Zion), said traffic was normal with no problems reported.