A portion of Chucky Mullins Drive will be closing April 16 with plans to reopen in January 2019. The Oxford Police Department tweeted the news on April 6 followed by a report from the university that same day.
The closure resulted from a joint decision made by the university’s Department of Facilities Planning, the Department of Parking and Transportation and administration to close the road to build the new South Recreational Facility.
The new building will include fitness activity space, departmental offices, classrooms, food service and new office space for the Ole Miss Campus Recreation and the Parking and Transportation departments.
During the closure, barriers will be erected at the entrance of the Whirlpool Trails – to keep the running trails accessible to the public – and near the Chucky Mullins entrance to an off campus parking lot, according to an infographic released by OPD.
Director of Parking and Transportation Mike Harris said since this portion will of Chucky Mullins will only be open to construction vehicles, buses will be rerouted.
“The Green Route – which operates from 7:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and runs from the bus terminal on All-American Drive through Chucky Mullins to Faulkner Flats – will be rerouted through the off-campus parking lot, around the construction,” Harris said. “Driving on Chucky Mullins will also be rerouted.”
Harris said this will not be a large detour for the Green Route bus, which will be the only bus line affected by the construction. He compared the rerouting of the Green Line to the current operation of buses running through the Kennon Observatory parking lot on All-American Drive.
Students won’t be affected much by the closure of Chucky Mullins, Harris said. The roadblocks from the parking lot to Whirlpool Trails will leave the bus route and trails usable, despite disconnecting Chucky Mullins traffic from Old Taylor Road and Highway 6 traffic.
Harris said he expects some community backlash due to the closure, but believes the closure of Chucky Mullins is ultimately for the good the university.
“People are always mad when roads close, but I want to stress that this will not affect university traffic all that much,” Harris said, “It’s actually really going to help the university because of the new facility being built.”
Senior exercise science major Faith Harris said she thinks the closure is not a big deal.
“I don’t think it’s really going to affect anything.” Faith said. “You can still travel the same way, and it’s ultimately going to better the campus. And the recreation building really needs a facelift, so I think this is a good idea.”
In addition to remodeling the recreation building, the project includes a repair of the road between the two barriers in order to lay piping for the new South Recreational Facility. When Chucky Mullins reopens in early 2019, new asphalt will have been laid and a new traffic light will be placed at the intersection of Chucky Mullins and Old Taylor Road.