OUR OPINION: Intersection reconstruction benchmarks progress

The final work to connect U.S. 45 with the new, four-laned Mississippi Highway 6 will tie up traffic at the intersection of Green Street and Highway 145 for the next three months in south Tupelo, but the light at the end of the tunnel is the projected opening of the new road in May after a decade and more of planning and construction.

Mississippi 6, which still officially is also Main Street in Tupelo, is a route steeped in the history of northern Mississippi transportation for most of the past 100 years.

The new four-lane will raise the highway’s profile as a commercial corridor, especially from Batesville and Interstate 55 eastward to Tupelo and U.S. 45.

Highway 6 runs approximately 136 miles and serves Coahoma, Quitman, Panola, Lafayette, Pontotoc, Lee, and Monroe counties. West of Tupelo, it is concurrent with U.S. Highway 278, which continues into Alabama east of Amory. The new Highway 6 is a universe away from the single-lane ribbon of concrete that until well after World War II connected Tupelo and Pontotoc.
Highway 6 is in some way a connector to many other roads:

Mississippi Highway 25
• Mississippi Highway 371

• Mississippi Highway 178

• U.S. Route 45

• Mississippi Highway 145

• Natchez Trace Parkway

• Mississippi Highway 342

• Mississippi Highway 338

• Mississippi Highway 9

• Mississippi Highway 336

• Mississippi Highway 15

• Mississippi Highway 76

• Mississippi Highway 334

• Mississippi Highway 7

• Mississippi Highway 315

• Interstate 55

• U.S. Route 51

• Mississippi Highway 35

• Mississippi Highway 3

• U.S. 61, U.S. 49

• Mississippi Highway 161

The last section under construction runs from Highway 342 in Pontotoc County to Highway 45 in Tupelo.

Much of the new Highway 6 construction was part of Corridor V in the Appalachian Highway System, a federally funded program that also involves new portions of Mississippi Highway 25 and a new road connecting into Alabama. U.S. 78 is part of Corridor V as well as Corridor X, soon to become Interstate 22.

The interconnectivity of highways like Mississippi 6 illustrates the complexity and the financial balancing act required to build the highways Mississippi needs. All the completed four-lane highways in Northeast Mississippi have been built since 1987, a fact of history that should not be ignored by legislators and other decision makers who are all but dismissive of the idea that additional hundreds of millions must be spent to maintain the system and build other, new roads for growth dependent on top-grade transportation.

  • carlcasino

    The portion of Hwy 6 west of Batesville to Clarksdale has been surveyed for the past 4 or 5 years and I suspect the automobile will be obsolete by completion.