Work begins for frontage road to new Toyota plant in NE Miss.

Published 1:24 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Surveyors are working to complete the route off U.S. 78 for a new frontage road to serve the Toyota assembly plant that’s being built.

Chad Wages, an engineer working with the project for the PUL Alliance and Three Rivers Planning and Development District, said the work began earlier this month.

“They might have a bulldozer to take down some small trees in the path,” Wages said of the route, “but landowners will be compensated for any damage that might occur. We don’t anticipate any.”

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The project is part of the package promised to Toyota before the company decided to build an automotive assembly plant at the Wellspring industrial site about 15 miles north of Tupelo. Toyota said it will manufacture the Highlander SUV at the plant, with production to begin by 2010.

The PUL Alliance represents Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties, which together developed the Wellspring site.

Randy Kelley, director of Three Rivers, said part of the PUL Alliance’s responsibility was to work with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to secure the route for the frontage road. The alliance has overseen management and operation of the site so far.

The PUL Alliance recently informed landowners along the route from Blue Springs to Sherman that the frontage road will hug U.S. 78 and cut through an area reserved for 100-year floods near Sherman.