Work starts on ‘northern loop’ bridge crossing U.S. 78

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Chad Rankin, left, and Allen Garrett, both with Century Construction, use a GPS to locate the center line of what will be the new U.S. Highway 78 overpass bridge connecting Coley Road with the "northern loop" and Barnes Crossing Road.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Chad Rankin, left, and Allen Garrett, both with Century Construction, use a GPS to locate the center line of what will be the new U.S. Highway 78 overpass bridge connecting Coley Road with the “northern loop” and Barnes Crossing Road.

By Joe Rutherford

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Construction on a Coley Road Extended bridge crossing U.S. Highway 78 officially started on Thursday, with workers measuring right-of- way boundaries and establishing the center line of the structure.

The $10.5 million bridge is the final link in the “northern loop” of the Major Thoroughfare Program. A new roadway, Coley Road Extended, will cross Town Creek bottom, intersect with Mount Vernon Road and cross Natchez Trace Parkway on another new bridge that’s scheduled for completion in late spring.

Coley Road Extended will connect to Barnes Crossing Road, providing a new route for traffic off U.S. 78 to get to Barnes Crossing commercial district.

Thursday was the day a permit to proceed from the Mississippi Department of Transportation became effective.

Jamie McDonald, MDOT’s district construction engineer in the Tupelo office, said the contractor, Century Construction of Tupelo, could begin dirt-moving work for the bridge within a few days.

Earlier, McDonald said the contract calls for completion of the span in 200 days.

The Major Thoroughfare Program a voter-approved Tupelo initiative funded by a 10-mill property tax for each phase of the program. The tax raises about $4 million per year.

joe.rutherford@journalinc.com