Testing Main Street

By Carlie Kollath / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city on Monday started preparation work for the Main Street road project, which will test the efficiency of converting the downtown section to three lanes.
Sections of Front Street were blocked off Monday as Tupelo Water amp& Light workers converted the wiring to accommodate new left turn signals for the eastbound and westbound lanes on Main Street.
Later, the crew will cut a groove in the road and install a sensor wire that will notify the light controls when a vehicle is waiting to turn left, said Johnny Timmons, director of Tupelo Water amp& Light.
The work is the first step needed to conduct the six-week test that will convert Main Street from Green Street to Elizabeth Street to two travel lanes, a center turn lane and on-street parallel parking.
The project is part of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association’s plan to rework Main Street to make it more of a destination and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
The City Council has approved the project but has not approved a specific plan yet. The city is paying about $20,000 to conduct the test and synchronize the traffic lights for the section of Main Street.
Timmons said it will take TWamp&L two to three weeks of good weather to do all the prep work on the lights from Green Street to Elizabeth Street.
When TWamp&L is done, Public Works will use temporary tape to cover up the existing lanes and restripe the street to three lanes. The temperature has to be at least 50 degrees for the work to be done.
The Main Street Association hopes to start the six-week test by Feb. 14.
The test is part of a project that has received federal funding.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, through the state DOT, has committed $2.3 million to funding a project that adds bike lanes from downtown Tupelo to the Elvis Presley Birthplace.
The City Council members voted to pay the required 20 percent match of about $600,000 for the project.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

What do you think?
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association wants to hear your thoughts about the downtown road project. Get in touch:
* E-mail: info@tupelomainstreet.com
* Comment: MainStreetTupelo.Blogspot.com
* Call: (662) 841-6598
Tupelo prepares for 3-lane Main Street test
* The city will do a trial run in February to see if traffic flow is more efficient and pedestrians are safer downtown.

Click video to hear audio