HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in Hancock County, where Texas Flat Road meets Highway 603.
“It's a nightmare,” said long-time resident Olivia Tenny. “It’s really hard to get in and out, especially during school hours since we’re so close to the high school/middle school. Early mornings, 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s impossible.”
When you put all that moving metal in one tight spot, things can happen.
“I’ve seen cars flipped and so many accidents all the time,” Tenny added. “It never ends.”
However, the intersection and two others are getting a makeover that includes merging lanes. The entire project is financed from grants through MDOT, totaling about $2.1 million.
“We've had a long history of bottlenecks and traffic accidents,” said Hancock County Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine. “So, these improvements are much needed, long overdue.”
Last week, the Hancock Board of Supervisors decided to ask for an additional improvement in the form of a traffic light.
One of the reasons the traffic light would be a good addition at this intersection is that in 2016, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission estimated that 4,200 vehicles travel this area every day.
“Texas Flat Road/603 in this area here is a major concern,” LaFontaine said. “Looking at peak flow in the afternoons, in the mornings, but specifically looking at a lot of events here at Hancock High School and Stennis Airport, a lot of heavy truck traffic. So, for us, this is a major area that needs to be addressed for short-term and long-term.”
Kim Hyatt has been a resident here and has operated her hair styling business since 1995. She thinks if there can be a signal at the Kiln-Waveland Cutoff, they can have one as well.
“We definitely need a traffic light because when you’re trying to get out going north, you can’t get out,” she said.
She’s also worried.
“Very worried,” she said. “I had been sitting at the end trying to get out before and seen people just run into people because they don’t pay attention.”
Loyal customer Linda Shiyou has been coming to Hyatt’s business for 20 years, but it’s a challenge.
“It’s hard to get back out on the highway because they’ve got big trucks that are driving pretty fast, and then all the other traffic as well,” she said.
If all goes well, officials think a traffic light could be up in six to nine months.
LaFontaine added that he doesn’t know the price tag of a traffic light, but, if necessary, county funds could be used to expedite the process.