friday 2

THS traffic flow

Connectors could give

multi-direction relief

Tupelo Public Schools’ Facility Leadership Team looked to the future Thursday when it discussed new connector roads and access for the Tupelo High School campus on Cliff Gookin Boulevard at the Natchez Trace.

The THS campus undergoing a major expansion and addition of new academic buildings has one traffic outlet, an interchange on Cliff Gookin.

The facility team, an advisory group formed when the district started its $29.5 million systemwide construction programs, discussed the possibility of an on-campus street connecting the north parking lot to the southwest parking lot at the high school, and then to an off-campus street under construction that would feed traffic in and out of the school much more efficiently than is now the case. Both links would give the expanding campus access to two exits on Cliff Gookin and a connection from Graham Drive to the planned interchange on the new Mississippi Highway 6, toward Palmetto Road, Mitchell Road and Verona.

The new on-campus street would take pressure off the THS/Cliff Gookin interchange and speed traffic flow that needs to go in other directions.

The Natchez Trace Parkway on the west side of the campus perimeter makes additional access in that direction unlikely, if not impossible.

The THS/Gookin interchange, at the time of construction, became a controversial topic because of its design and cost.

Expanded campus access and new traffic patterns should speed flow and ease congestion during peak traffic hours on the 2,000-student campus.