Drivers say Gautier's new Hwy 90 lights aren't a bright idea

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The standard and much taller traditional street lights on Highway 90 in Gautier are coming down. They are being replaced with much smaller, more decorative lighting. But as the old lights come down, the number of complaints is going up.

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said he feels it's too early to weigh in on the new project.

"Only a third of the lights are up. Once all the light are up, the study that was done by MDOT and Highway 90 through Gautier will be illuminated just as much as it was before we went to the decorative lights," Fortenberry said. "I just ask for the public to be patient. It takes time for this progress."

Lynn Weatherford drives Highway 90 and worries the new lighting could be dangerous.

"I think they're nice to look at and pretty, not useful," Weatherford said. "They're not bright at all. Someone breaks down or someone is walking along side of the road, you really don't see them when you're going by."

David Pruitt agrees with Weatherford.

"The big light for a person like me with glasses and the elderly people, some of them get out at nighttime. The bigger lights, they light up better, and it's a lot safer on the highway. You can see better," Pruitt said.

Another driver added his thoughts.

"They need to be bigger, so it's visible farther away. They can cause accidents when they're up close like that.  They need to go back to the same way it was."

Driver Joey Ranson fears for people's safety.

"If somebody is walking down the side of the road or something, you would not see them; there's no way you would see them."

But the city Police Chief Ed Williams is more concerned about something else besides the lights when it comes to public safety.

"Drivers not paying enough attention to what's going on around them, maybe on their cell phones, texting, paying attention to businesses on the side of the road and not concentrating on their driving."

The entire street lighting project is costing about $250,000, and it should be finished in early 2012.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.