By Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal
The new Mississippi Highway 9 from Sherman to U.S. Highway 278 near Pontotoc will open for traffic – all lanes, both directions – Monday at 8 a.m.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation made the announcement Wednesday.
The new 12-mile four-lane highway was completed in what’s believed to be record time under a design-build contract. Construction on the $87 million contract started from scratch July 5, 2011, by Eutaw Construction.
MDOT District Engineer Bill Jamieson said the announcement was not unexpected.
“We had been meeting every Wednesday over there to assess the situation, and I really had thought it might happen last week,” Jamieson said.
The highway will provide a much-sought four-lane link from the entrance to Magnolia Way, the frontage road leading to the Toyota assembly plant at Blue Springs.
“This new highway is a big deal,” said Northern District Transporation Commissioner Mike Tagert. “We should all be really happy about it. I plan to go out there Monday morning and drive the new highway myself.”
Eutaw is under an incentive contract that will pay them $50,000 per day in extra compensation for each day completion is ahead of schedule, up to 100 days and $5 million. The original projected completion date was in December 2012.
A ribbon-cutting celebration remains scheduled Aug. 16, with details to be announced.