Construction on the final link of the new and relocated Mississippi Highway 6 from Pontotoc to Tupelo is ahead of schedule and should be completed, except for paving, in October 2011, a Mississippi Department of Transportation official said Tuesday.
Skip Benson, an engineer in the construction division of MDOT’s Tupelo District headquarters, said the $29 million project from the Natchez Trace Parkway to Mississippi Highway 145 near the Tupelo/Verona city boundary and South Green Street, is 64 percent complete, compared to the expected 52 percent.
Benson said no definite completion date is set because the contract is based on “time units” rather than overall completion, but the last link of the new highway is expected to be ready sometime in 2013.
The new Highway 6 is complete from Batesville to state Highway 342, east of Pontotoc.
The dirt work and unpaved roadway construction are complete from Highway 342 (near the Black Zion community in Pontotoc County) to just west of the Natchez Trace, south of Tupelo High School.
Benson said when the Natchez Trace-to-Highway 145 sector is complete, a paving contract will be up for bids for the segment from Highway 342 to 145.
The most visible work on the Trace-to-145 sector is a bridge on the Natchez Trace crossing the new Highway 6 roadway. The arched span raises the elevation of the Trace, and part of south Tupelo’s “skyline” is clearly visible looking east down the corridor under construction.
The existing Highway 6 becomes Main Street inside Tupelo, but the new highway leaves Tupelo’s city limits on the southwest side, south of Tupelo High School, and roughly parallels the existing highway out-of-sight to the south, connecting to the completed new four-lane in Pontotoc County east of Pontotoc Country Club.
Contact Joe Rutherford at email@example.com or (662) 678-1597.
Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal