oversight – April

Businesses warned that work to begin on Main Street

Main Street project expected to take 300 days to complete.

By Marty Russell

Daily Journal

Work on widening West Main Street in Tupelo from Milford Street to Monument Drive is scheduled to begin in earnest this week and business owners along the stretch have been sent letters informing them of the tentative work schedule.

“APAC should start breaking out the curbs (today),” Lynda Ford, manager of the Major Thoroughfare Program for the city, said of the first step in the process, removing the old curbs and gutters by the contractor, APAC of Mississippi.

Main Street will be widened from four lanes to five lanes when the work is complete, but businesses along the stretch as well as motorists will have to cope with construction work for the anticipated 300-day length of the project. Currently, the section is down to three lanes to accommodate the construction work.

“Crews will be in front of your establishment approximately three to four times and it is going to be inconvenient for you at some period during this construction,” the letter mailed to business owners last week stated.

Work was scheduled to begin Monday just west of the battlefield site and travel east along the south side of Main Street first.

After the existing curbs are removed, new drainage pipes will be installed followed by new curbs and gutters and then a new base and asphalt for the widened areas.

“All of this will be done in approximately 1,200-foot increments,” the letter to business owners stated. Ford said the city plans to keep businesses along the stretch updated on the progress of the work with a regular newsletter.

The work is part of the final project to be completed in the second five-year phase of the city’s Major Thoroughfare Program. Another project, widening Main Street from Thomas Street to the Natchez Trace Parkway, was scheduled for Phase II but likely will be carried over into Phase III if voters approve another five years phase in an Aug. 7 referendum.

“That will leave us about $2 million,” Jim High, chairman of the thoroughfare program’s Oversight Committee, said of the money remaining in Phase II after the current West Main Street project is completed. “The projection (for the Thomas Street to Natchez Trace project) is $2.2 million so unless taxes come in above the estimates we’ll still be slightly behind.”

The thoroughfare program currently is funded by a 9 mill tax levy earmarked for the specific street projects approved by voters in the last referendum on the matter. The Oversight Committee, made up of citizens appointed to keep tabs on the thoroughfare program, has recommended the city raise the 9 mill levy back to 10 mills for Phase III. The levy originally was set at 10 mills but was lowered after a countywide property reappraisal.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed valuation and the millage allocated to the thoroughfare program brings in about $3 million a year.

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