TUPELO • Members of the city’s Major Thoroughfare Program committee are currently mapping out the future of the All-America City’s road system by deciding which street projects should be considered for improvement in the program’s next phase.
The program’s leadership has formed a sub-committee to prioritize which projects should go on the short-list for Major Thoroughfare’s seventh phase. Stuart Johnson is currently leading the sub-committee, which has outlined 15 potential projects.
Not all of the 15 projects will make it to the sub-committee’s final recommendations. The sub-committee members are currently seeking cost estimates on projects.
“Our first priority is to complete anything that did not get completed in phase six,” Johnson told the Daily Journal.
Members of the committee said the first project that will be considered is completing the Eason Boulevard project from South Veterans Boulevard to Briar Ridge Road near Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus, which could be a potential project to roll over from the current phase.
The Eason project is also being considered for the program committee’s current phase, but there may not be enough money in the committee’s budget to complete the project. If that happens, the committee can either ask the City Council to fund the remaining balance or carry the project over into its next phase.
So far, the sub-committee members outlined three new projects to gather cost estimates on, with all of them being on Jackson Street. The projects are: East Jackson Street from Madison Street to Front Street, West Jackson Street from Apripark Road to North Thomas Street and West Jackson Street from North Thomas Street to Joyner Avenue.
“Our goal eventually is to go from Front Street to Coley Road,” Johnson said of Jackson Street.
Johnson believes that making improvements to Jackson Street is critical for the city’s future growth because the west area of Tupelo is continuously growing, which means the traffic is also growing.
The committee also decided to see if there could be any assistance from the Mississippi Department of Transportation on two projects in the area near the Mall at Barnes Crossing.
Greg Pirkle, the program committee’s chairman, stressed these projects are not a final list and emphasized that these are only projects that sub-committee members have outlined in order to gather cost estimates and as a way of indicating that these projects would end up on a short-list.
“I’m excited about the work they’re doing,” Pirkel said of the sub-committee. “When I’m out in the community and people mention (potential road projects) to me, usually it’s already a project the sub-committee has identified.”
Committee leaders anticipate finalizing a list of potential projects by September and holding a vote to renew the program by winter of 2021.