In addition, bids are scheduled for opening April 23 on the final unpaved stretch of Highway 6 between the Black Zion community in Pontotoc County and the South Gloster Street intersection in south Tupelo, MDOT Tupelo District Engineer Bill Jamieson said. The contract is projected in the $35 million range.
The basic road bed, drainage and bridges for the new Highway 6 from the Natchez Trace Parkway to South Gloster, a $29.3 million project, joins a previously completed grade, drain and bridge portion from the Natchez Trace to Highway 342, near Black Zion, where the pavement ends on the complete, paved portion north of Pontotoc and west to Oxford.
Jamieson said the work is behind schedule and in the "damages" phase.
The new Highway 6 and new Highway 9 will join at an existing interchange near Nixon.
Jamieson said the Highway 9 project could be completed sometime in August, with Sept. 12 the official projection.
The $87.5 million contract is funded with bonds issued by the Mississippi Development Authority, with incentives up to $5 million for early completion. Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen won the contract on May 11, 2011. Construction started July 5, 2011, and "I can almost guarantee you this highway work will break records for early completion," Jamieson said.
Jamieson said state-of-the-art roadbuilding technology has helped the pace of the project.
Interest remains strong in speeding five-laning and four-laning of Mississippi Highway 15, the main north-south corridor beginning at the Tennessee state line north of Walnut and extending almost to the Gulf Coast.
The $18 million five-laning from south of New Albany through the eastern part of the city to the northern city limits, with parallel lanes to Northaven was awarded to Talbot Brothers of Nesbit and is expected to be complete in late summer.
The four-laning grade, drainage and clearing ($5.6 million, Colom Construction of Ripley) from Northaven to Cotton Plant on the Tippah County line is under construction, with completion expected in August, to be followed by another contract for paving.
Additional work is scheduled in Tippah County north of Falkner, including the Ripley bypass, with both widening and/or four-laning in Pontotoc County through Ecru to Mississippi 6 north of Pontotoc.
Many legislators from the Highway 15 counties have pushed hard for accelerated work to serve the industrial corridor and industrial parks, including major furniture manufacturing in Tippah, Union and Pontotoc counties.
Jamieson said right-of-way purchase has started for the southern portion of the Highway 15 work.
U.S. 78/I-22 CORRIDOR
Improvements and changes are required on portions of U.S.78/I-22 corridor through New Albany, and a $19 million contract has been awarded to Hill Brothers Construction of Falkner to bring the highway to full interstate standards.
The work includes changes on an overpass at the Central Avenue/Downtown exit and shoulder work westward on the highway.
Some supplies have been delivered to the site, but construction has not fully started.
The interchange of new Highway 9, Magnolia Way leading to the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, and Highway 78 at Sherman has generated interest by Sherman's town government, which is awaiting a major annexation.
If approved, the annexation would extend south to Eads Road, the first road crossed by the new highway, with additional annexed area south of and along Magnolia Way, and eastward on both sides of U.S. 78.
When completed, the $180 million in work under contract in the region will more fully link the network of four-lane highways long-envisioned for Northeast Mississippi.
None of the four-lanes existed before the 1987 Highway Program was enacted, Mississippi's first statewide highway mandate.