Study aims to detour potential traffic troubles near new OS High - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Study aims to detour potential traffic troubles near new Ocean Springs High

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Despite all the excitement about the new Ocean Springs High School going up near the intersection of Old Spanish Trail and Highway 57, there's also a bit of dread when you mention traffic.

City, county, and school officials recently commissioned a traffic study with the hope of heading off traffic troubles before they happen. It's something they wish they had done a little earlier in the process.

"No traffic study or no traffic plan has been put together. It was an oversight by the school's architect and the school," County Supervisor John McKay said.

McKay represents part of the area, and said several intersections need to be improved, starting with the Old Spanish Trail-Highway 57 intersection.

"It's bad now, but it will be four or five times worse than that once the school opens and you have 2,500 students go in daily," McKay said.

The group also pointed out a problem with the nearby CSX Railway, which has no crossing arms. Officials said a high school student was hit and killed by a train on the tracks a few years ago.

"That is a dangerous place," McKay said.

City, county, and school leaders recently paid $15,000 for engineers to study traffic. Brian Fulton of Neel Schaeffer Engineering company has some possible solutions.

"Left turn lanes are warranted at the new intersection of Highway 57 and Old Spanish Trail, at all approaches," Fulton said. "We think there may be a signal warranted there at that intersection as well."

MDOT officials said they will pay for safety improvements at the railroad tracks.

"There was a project scheduled to upgrade to crossing arms, but maybe that CSX intersection needs to be widened," MDOT Engineer Kelly Castleberry said.

Some other recommendations are to add sidewalks around the school, improve drainage, and add an extra turn lane on Highway 90.

Supervisor McKay said the engineering company has been asked to create a comprehensive plan, which will detail a timeline and the cost to make necessary road improvements.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved

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