TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Construction will begin next month on an estimated $7.4 million bridge that will cross the Natchez Trace Parkway and help complete Tupelo's Northern Loop.
Federal funds will cover $3 million to $4.5 million of the bridge's cost.
Federal officials say the bridge, which will be the length of a football field, has to fit in with the look of the Trace.
"We wanted to build a bridge as quickly and as efficiently as possible. They have certain requirements for theirs that they maintain, and we understand that, but we wanted to get the bridge started and do it as cost efficient as possible," Tupelo Major Thoroughfare Project Manager Phillip Harbor said.
"The price has gone up significantly with respect to the asphalt and the concrete that we have, so we have seen increases just as we have with other projects. Fortunately, it's well within the budget that we have for Phase 5 for the monies that are going to be collected. The 10 mills will provide enough money to make sure that we can complete this bridge and have it done in the next 12 to 18 months," Tupelo Major Thoroughfare Committee Chairman Greg Pirkle said.
That is approximately the same length of time it will take to build another bridge. The Mississippi Department of Transportation will construct the Highway 78 bridge and interchange.
When complete, the Northern Loop will travel from McCullough Boulevard all the way to Barnes Crossing Road.
The west end connects at Coley Road, travels on to a Highway 78 interchange and then crosses the Natchez Trace Parkway and includes a major intersection with traffic signals on Mount Vernon Road.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation project is expected to launch just after the first of the year.
The projected opening date for the Northern Loop is the fall of 2014.