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Culvert installation in downtown ditch promises bike trail extension

Worker can be seen inside the culvert section in this construction photo.

New Albany, MS- Work is nearing completion of a construction project in downtown New Albany that will turn an unhealthy eyesore into an additional recreational asset.

Workers and equipment of Paul Smithey Construction Company of Tupelo have nearly finished installation of a large culvert in a 550-long open storm ditch that has run directly behind New Albany’s Main Street for more than a century. The ditch, about 40 feet wide and 15 feet deep has carried storm water away from the downtown area. It has also been an unsightly feature of one of the main routes to the downtown area, and, because it usually held standing water, a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes.

This photo shows one of the culvert sections before installation. Each section is about 6 feet in diameter.

This photo shows one of the culvert sections before installation. Each section is about 6 feet in diameter.

A $100-thousand grant to the city last year from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, money it received from the U.S. Department of Transportation, is providing money for the project.

Sometime after it is completed, ground above the newly installed culvert will be paved with a ten-foot strip of asphalt and become an extension of the Tanglefoot Trail, which it adjoins. Because it will help connect Tanglefoot to the biking paths in the Park-Along-The-River, it contributes to the goal of making Tanglefoot a “century ride” for bicyclists. Tanglefoot, a part of the National Trails System, for hikers and bicyclists, now runs 43.5 miles from downtown New Albany to Houston, Miss. The goal is to increase the total circuit to 100 miles, a “century ride.”

New Albany Mayor Tim Kent says Smithey should be finished with this portion of the project by the end of the week. Later this year will come the installation of a new culvert under Main Street. Then the paving for the Tanglefoot extension will take place. The project, including paving, is expected to be complete by late this year or in the early weeks of 2017, which would make it finished several months earlier than the original target date of May 2017.


Readers may also be interested in these stories, posted last year by, that tell more about the project:

Century Ride Comes Closer

Free Acrobatic Flying Show

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