By Emily Le Coz and Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A city project to restripe downtown streets will skip the most heavily traveled thoroughfare.
For the past year and a half, Main Street has sported a patchwork of temporary stripes as part of a trial run on its ability to carry traffic on three lanes instead of four. The stripes were meant to stay six months before permanent ones took their place.
But delays on that project – which is part of a master plan to improve Main Street from downtown to the Elvis Presley Birthplace – have kept the temporary stripes in place. The stripes were part of a City Council-requested test of the proposed traffic pattern, which later was approved.
In April, Jon Milstead, who is assisting on behalf of the Community Development Foundation, said the temporary tape stripes are holding up longer than expected. The plan is to keep them until they are no longer viable or the permanent ones are painted, he said.
For now, crews from Public Works are restriping side streets.
“We’re not touching Main Street,” said Chuck Williams, streets and drainage supervisor for Public Works.
The crews are repainting crosswalks, parking spaces and curbs on side streets like Spring, Broadway, Court and Troy. They may freshen up some of the yellow curbs on Main Street, but they won’t do any paint on the actual road bed.
Williams said the process typically is done every two to three years. However, it’s been four years since the crosswalks have been repainted, so the crews are focusing on those.
The employees are working at night to avoid traffic and stay cool, said Public Works Director Sid Russell. They won’t earn overtime pay, because they’re not working during the day.
Work started Monday and could end as early as Friday, weather permitting.