CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
HED:Gloster road work shouldn't hamper holiday traffic
By Marty Russell
Officials say road work on North Gloster Street in Tupelo shouldn't interfere with holiday shoppers heading to The Mall at Barnes Crossing area to fill their Christmas wish lists.
"That has caused some disruption," Northern District Transportation Commissioner Zack Stewart said of trucks hauling dirt into a site where two bridges will be constructed. The work is part of the widening of Gloster Street to five lanes.
"That part should be over with," Stewart said of the dirt hauling. "There may be some occasional disruption with vehicles turning in there but the contractor has now started driving pilings for the bridges."
No work on the existing two lanes of Gloster Street from the Department of Transportation headquarters to just north of U.S. Highway 78 is planned until after the Christmas shopping season and the city doesn't plan to start its part of the project until next year.
The state is widening the section from the MDOT headquarters to U.S. 78 while the city will continue the widening from that point to the existing five lanes in front of the mall.
"We plan to put it out for bids in January and award a bid in February and start work immediately after," Jim High, chairman of the city's Major Thoroughfare Committee, said of the city's part of the project. "We expect to finish up by late October or November. Our plans are to be finished before Christmas of next year."
While construction work shouldn't interfere with this year's Christmas traffic, Stewart still advises motorists traveling to the mall area to use U.S. Highway 45.
"We've got two turn lanes now and that empties traffic off (U.S.) 45," he said of the highway's intersection with Barnes Crossing Road. "It's much better than it used to be."
The state's portion of the North Gloster Street widening project is scheduled for completion in May of 2000 but Stewart said work should have progressed enough by Christmas 1999 to prevent problems then.
The plans call for constructing two lanes of the two new bridges and diverting traffic onto those new lanes while work is under way on renovating the old lanes. That should ensure at least two lanes of traffic will be open at all times, officials said.