Improved interchange opens traffic flow to Ole Miss campus
Neel-Schaffer provided engineering design services for new roundabouts and the widening of the Old Taylor Road bridge near the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.
One of the most heavily traveled roads in Oxford, Old Taylor Road serves as a south entrance point to the Ole Miss campus, and it leads to a myriad of apartment complexes and homes just south of MS Highway 6, a major, four-lane east-west thoroughfare that connects Oxford to I-55 on the west and the City of Tupelo to the east.
Increased traffic on Old Taylor Road had become a major problem for Ole Miss and City of Oxford leaders. Without signals to regulate traffic on Old Taylor Road, traffic exiting MS 6 and attempting to turn onto Old Taylor Road often found it difficult to enter the road. It was routine for exiting cars to back up onto MS 6, causing an extremely dangerous situation.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation sought recommendations from Neel-Schaffer for major changes to the Old Taylor Road/ MS 6 entrance/exit. Among the solutions considered were lengthening the deceleration ramps, widening the Old Taylor Road bridge over MS 6, and installing traffic signals. After analysis and traffic modeling, Neel-Schaffer engineers recommended:
- Lengthening the deceleration ramps
- Widening the Old Taylor Road bridge over MS 6 from two to four lanes, and adding a lane for bikes and pedestrians
- Building double-lane roundabouts at the ramp terminals on each end of the bridge
- Utilization of university owned property in providing a detour to local traffic during construction
“The project was finished on time, and it has made a big difference in the quality of life in our community.”
Construction on the $7.3 million project was completed in an accelerated time frame, to work around class schedules at the university. The construction phase began in February 2014 to develop a detour route to bring traffic onto campus via University Boulevard and bypass the Old Taylor Road entrance/exit. At the same time, Talbot Brothers Contracting began construction on the new ramps and bridge widening. On May 12, 2014, Old Taylor Road was closed to traffic to begin construction of the roundabouts and finish the bridge widening.
Old Taylor Road was reopened to traffic on July 31, 2014, 15 days ahead of schedule, and prior to students returning to Oxford to begin the fall semester at Ole Miss.
Said Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson: “It was a well-planned, well-executed project that has improved a very critical intersection. The project was finished on time, and it has made a big difference in the quality of life in our community.”