By Alyssa Schnugg
More than a decade ago, Oxford and Lafayette County leaders discussed the need for a new road that would eventually provide a loop around Oxford, from West Jackson Boulevard to Highway 7. The “dream” roadway was dubbed Tobby Tubby Parkway.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation denied funding for the road and discussions stopped for several years until the need for the road increased with the success of the FNC Park off Old Sardis Road and the amount of traffic it generated.
City and county leaders entered into an agreement to split the costs to build the road extends West Oxford Loop to Old Sardis Road. The University of Mississippi also helped the cause by lobbying the Mississippi Legislature for funds which resulted in the state granting $3 million toward the new road.
The two governments also agreed to extend Sisk Avenue to Highway 6 and share the costs.
On Tuesday, Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said West Oxford Loop is nearing completion and should be opening in the next couple of weeks.
“This week they are putting in guard rails and on July 8, they should be doing the striping,” she said. “It’s beautiful and I think everyone will be impressed.”
Tannehill said an opening ceremony will be planned to officially open the road.
The second phase will extend the road from College Hill to Industrial Park Drive. However, the $6 million-plus project has not yet been fully funded.
In its recent session, the Mississippi Legislature granted Lafayette County $1 million from the BP lawsuit funds toward the second phase project.
Sisk Avenue Extension is also expected to be opening sometime this month, according to Kevin W. McLeod, with Elliott and Britt Engineering.