West Jackson project file

In this file photo from August 2021, Gregory Construction employee Jessie Doss of Brooksville directs traffic through the West Jackson Street work zone in Tupelo.

TUPELO • The Major Thoroughfare Committee is gearing up for the next phase in its program with a myriad of street projects alongside a continued focus on Jackson Street.

In the committee's first meeting of the new year, Tupelo Chief Financial Officer Kim Hanna, in an update on the committee’s finances, said the program's Phase VI revenue had stopped and that the committee had about $477,000 that will be transferred between phases for projects during Phase VII.

The committee had a total of $310,650 in its coffers as of Monday before the transfer was made. Hanna said the November tax revenue from the committee's 10-mill slice of Tupelo taxes was on the way as well.

Despite the incoming cash, Committee Chairman Greg Pirkle said he feared the committee’s budget would be tight with the start of the year.

“We are already running out of money quickly in this phase, but we have to get these roads finished,” he said.

On the project side, the Major Thoroughfare Committee recently asked an engineer to begin designing blueprints for widening the west side of Jackson Street from the intersection of Lumpkin Avenue to Airpark Road, but members noted that completing the design did not mean they would be moving to that section anytime soon.

Pirkle said since the committee's conception in 1991, its members have wanted to improve Jackson Street, and now that it is possible, the street remains a priority.

“We always wanted to do Jackson Street. It has always been one of our bucket list streets, but now that we are doing it, it might be a little tough to chew," he said. "It is making our city look better, and it is improving our traffic flow. Hopefully, we can piecemeal it together to satisfy the community.”

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Meanwhile, the committee also heard from Tupelo Water & Light Director Johnny Timmons, whose department was working on a portion of collapsed sewer main on West Jackson Street between Lumpkin Avenue and Vassar Drive.

“We had about 1,000 feet of bad sewer main collapse,” he said.

Timmons said Wednesday that his department opened the road to the public that afternoon but cautioned drivers to be careful on the new roadwork.

The next project Timmons said his department had on its plate would be replacing the water main running from Thomas Street to Lumpkin Avenue. He believes the work might flow better if it is done in conjunction with the committee’s underground utility work needed to prepare the road for widening. Pirkle said he agreed with the idea.

“The less we can inconvenience the people living there, the better for us it is in the long run,” Pirkle said.

Other projects the committee laid out for the next five years include:

  • Widening Eason Boulevard from South Veterans Memorial Boulevard to Briar Ridge Road.
  • Constructing a new road from West Barnes Crossing Road to the west side of Gloster Street.
  • Widening North Veterans Memorial Boulevard from East Main Street to Hamm Street and from Hamm Street to Interstate 22.
  • Realigning McPherson Road with Highway 6
  • Widening Airpark Road from West Main Street to West Jackson Street.
  • Redesigning and constructing an intersection at Highway 45, McCullough Boulevard and Hilda Avenue.
  • Widening Elizabeth Street from East Main Street to Green Street

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