Old Taylor Road bridge closed for summer
A major entrance to the University of Mississippi is closed for the summer.
The Old Taylor Road exit from the Highway 6/278 bypass was shut down early Monday to facilitate expansion of the bridge from two lanes to four.
“That entire interchange will be closed until mid-August,” said Mississippi Department of Transportation spokesman Jason Scott.
The timing of the work coincided with the end of the spring semester and last weekend’s Commencement exercises at Ole Miss and the beginning of its fall semester: First move-in day is Aug. 14, and classes begin Aug. 25.
People south of Highway 6/278 are able to access the highway and the Ole Miss campus via a detour route that utilizes Kitchenaid Drive, south of the Bickerstaff/Whirlpool intersection, which has been extended to connect with Coliseum Drive.
Oxford-University Transit Manager Ron Biggs said that even with the detour, buses on the Green Route connecting student apartments on South Old Taylor Road with the university campus were able to stay within their 30-minute timeframe. That may change, however, with Monday’s closure of All-American Drive on campus.
“We’re going to go up Coliseum Drive to Fraternity Row to Rebel Drive and from there to the Student Union,” Biggs said. “Then the Lyceum is going to be our turnaround point.”
Motorists on Highway 6/278 should plan for a few minutes’ delay either eastbound or westbound, as traffic is currently confined to one lane in each direction. For short periods during low-traffic hours, the highway could be shut down completely.
“There is a potential for highway 6 to be closed when they take the old rail off the bridge. We don’t know for sure that they will, but if they do have to close it, it will be done intermittently, and at night,” MDOT’s Scott said. “The way the contract is set up, local law enforcement has to be there, and they will tell the contractor how long they can keep it closed.”
One question yet unknown is how the university would accommodate traffic to Oxford-University Stadium if Ole Miss is picked to host an NCAA baseball regional. Old Taylor Road (known as University Place on campus) passes directly by the ballpark. A call to Ole Miss sports information was not immediately returned Monday.
While the Old Taylor Road interchange and bridge are set to reopen in mid-August of this year, other parts of the project are scheduled to continue until November 2015. When finished, the interchange will have a four-lane bridge with pedestrian space and crossings, along with a twin-lane roundabout at each end.
The project also includes widening Old Taylor Road to four lanes from Highway 6/278 to the planned intersection with Belk Drive Extended, which will connect Old Taylor Road with South Lamar Boulevard through the site of the new Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, which is in progress.