Traffic and driver frustration are both increasing on I-10.
The widening work between Lorraine Cowan Road and the Jackson County line is nearly done. The extra lane in both directions is paved and appears to be ready for traffic. But those lanes are blocked by the familiar orange and white barrels.
WLOX News wanted to find out why.
The sign warning of work ahead seems a little misleading. In the nearly ten mile stretch of interstate between the Lorraine Cowan exit and the I-110, we spotted just a single work crew.
A six man team stayed busy doing dirt work in the median. Although few construction workers can be found, there's an abundance of orange and white barrels. A seven mile line of barrels blocks cars from using the new lanes in both directions.
Isn't it frustrating for drivers, knowing there's an extra lane but you can't drive in it?
We took Exit 41 and talked with folks in Woolmarket.
"Yeah, I'd love to see them open. I'm tired of being tied up in traffic," said one motorist.
Another said he's anxious for the lanes to open also.
"Yes, I'll sure be happy to see them open," he said.
Brenda Hutchinson says she's ready for the work to be over.
"It's been very frustrating and that's a good question. When is it going to be over? Can you tell me?" she wondered.
Hutchinson is a small business owner who drives the crowded interstate daily from Ocean Springs to Diamondhead. She longs for an end to the work.
"It's past time. It's very dangerous when you come off Highway 15 onto the interstate, because every day you have a different entrance onto the interstate," she said.
A spokesman for M-DOT told WLOX News the contractor is well within his contract deadline for finishing this section of widening work. As to when those barrels might be coming down, he says the final striping work should take place in the next couple weeks. After that, the new lanes can open.
The widening work on I-10 is being done in several phases. The total project will cost more than one hundred million dollars. By the way, traffic on the interstate is increasing six to eight percent each year.