Bypass Route

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2010

Bypass on path for 2014, says MDOT engineer

By John Howell Sr.

Construction of the long-awaited Batesville bypass route for Highway 6/278 will likely begin in 2014 with completion coming in three to five years, Mississippi Department of Transportation District Engineer Richard Allen said this week.

Upon completion a new four-lane highway will allow through traffic an alternative to Batesville congestion via an east/west route connecting to the existing 6/278 near Chapeltown Road on the west, returning on the east end to the existing route near Good Hope Road.

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The 11-mile route will skirt around the south municipal limits.

However, “(Highway) 161 through Clarksdale is similar to (Highway) 6 in Batesville,” Allen said. In Clarksdale, “local people still tend to use the existing highway,” with trucks taking advantage of the bypass, the district engineer continued.

 The 6/278 Batesville bypass project is currently in its design phase. Right-of-way acquisition is likely to begin in late 2011 or early 2012, Allen said. The construction will be the largest public works project in Panola County since Interstate 55 was built in the mid-1960s.

Yet in remarks to members of the Batesville Exchange Club Wednesday, Allen was guarded in responses about new homes built on Highway 35 near the proposed path of the bypass. He explained MDOT’s source of highway construction funds to carry the project forward from year to year, and acknowledged that “some budgetary reasons” might further delay the project.

“If you’re going to build a new home, come in and look at the (bypass) plans,” Allen said.