Tupelo traffic study to advance

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A citywide traffic study could advance to the next step after Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program Committee invited five firms to compete for the job.
Civil Link of Hernando, Cook Coggin of Tupelo, Florence & Hutcheson of Paducah, Ky., Neel-Schaffer of Jackson and RPM Transportation Consultants of Nashville have until Nov. 2 to submit proposals.
“We selected large engineering and planning firms that have experience in these types of studies,” said City Engineer John Crawley, who is working with the Major Thoroughfare Program Committee.
The study will look at Tupelo’s traffic conditions and identify current problems as well as anticipate future issues that could be alleviated by the Major Thoroughfare Program. The program uses a voter-approved, 10-mill property tax to make large-scale road improvements throughout the city.
The program’s previous study was completed in 1991. It recommended a host of road improvements that now nearly all have been accomplished. Program leaders say it’s time for a fresh look at the city’s traffic flow.
“Everything has changed,” said Greg Pirkle, who chairs the Major Thoroughfare Program committee. “The traffic patterns, the residential areas, the commercial areas. We think we need to have other professionals look at that plan and tell us, is this still relevant or should we update it.”
The committee will spend an estimated $100,000 on the study. It hopes to start work by the end of the year or early next year and have a final product by late 2013.
Among the potential targets are West Jackson Street, Eason Boulevard by Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus, Colonial Estates Road by the airport and the connection between U.S. 45, Front Street and McCullough Boulevard.
“But those are based on the committee’s experience in driving in Tupelo,” Pirkle said. “We see those as individuals needs but think we need a professional to do a more comprehensive study.”
The study will help determine which projects come next in the current, five-year phase, as well as picking projects for Phase 6.
The election for that phase comes in May 2016.

Click video to hear audio