Afternoon traffic backups a danger on I-10 at Diamondhead - - The News for South Mississippi

Afternoon traffic backups a danger on I-10 at Diamondhead


By Al Showers – bio | email

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Some Diamondhead residents say they come home to a traffic nightmare almost daily. During peak traffic hours, they say it's nearly impossible to get to the Hancock County community off Interstate 10.

At 4pm at exit 16, the off ramp leading to Diamondhead is backed up with drivers from three area schools and workers headed home from Stennis Space Center.

"It's a bad traffic situation," said Diamondhead resident Lisa Comfort.

It's bumper to bumper traffic for the length of the entire off ramp. And the traffic extends about a half mile onto the interstate, something residents say is very dangerous.

"There's been several accidents out here," Comfort said.

One of those accidents was a ten car pile up that her teenage daughter was involved in.

"It's not something that's going to correct itself. I mean, our population has continued to grow and it's only going to get worse."

"MDOT is aware of the problem at the Diamondhead interchange area," MDOT Engineer Kelly Castleberry said. "There are three locations along the coast that has this problem: Cedar Lake, Hwy 605/Cowan Lorraine Road, and the Diamondhead Interchange. We are looking at some improvements that would alleviate some of that congestion."

Castleberry said the problem starts at the four way stop at the entrance of Diamondhead. He said traffic moves slowly in the area. On top of that, there's only a two lane road to get drivers to that point.

Castleberry said engineers are looking at several options.

"One could be a signal, the other could be actual geometric improvement to the entire ramp system. I think in the short term, maybe a signal there can be warranted in order to get motorists up there."

So when can drivers expect relief?

"Really, it depends on funding and what time the plans come together in order to facilitate the mediation of that congestion," Castleberry said.

"I just hope something is done before a child is seriously hurt," Comfort said.

Drivers told WLOX News that officers have been writing tickets to prevent people from using the emergency lane on the off ramp to move around the traffic. Instead of writing tickets, some residents would like to see officers help direct traffic during rush hour.

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