New Ocean Springs Traffic Light Blamed For Congestion

The newly-installed traffic light at Holcomb Blvd. in Ocean Springs was supposed to ease traffic for nearby homes, businesses, and schools.

"It's to relieve the congestion we're having on Government St. from the schools letting out in the afternoon. You got the high school and you got Oak Park Elementary. And about four years ago, Maurepas Landing subdivision came on line, and this relieves the traffic for people trying to get across the highway from the service drive," Alderman-At-Large Danny Jalanivich said.

Instead, the new light has a lot of eastbound drivers seeing red.

"The reason they're complaining is the red light. It'll turn green, and in 12 or 15 seconds, it goes back to red. That's what's backing all of our traffic up," Jalanivich said.

One driver said, "I have been caught by this light, and it's taking us a little while to get through it, a couple of light changes".

Another driver said, "I don't go that way anymore. I go back roads the best I can anyway. Around 4 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon, yeah, it's really bad".

Those who work in the area deal with the traffic tie-ups everyday. Les Schonewitz is an employee at Dixie Glass One.

"It's hard for our customers to get in and out, because they have to go down and turn around, and come back."

Even though the city of Ocean Springs installed the light, the State Transportation Department approved the plans. But after the new light went up, MDOT engineers found out it's not synchronized with the old one down the street at Bechtel. MDOT is now working with the city to fix the problem.

"They're going to put some kind of radio signals for Holcomb, Bechtel, Hanley Rd. and Fort Bayou Estates Entrance. All those lights will be tied-in with the radio signal and hopefully, it will let this traffic flow freer in the afternoons," Jalanivich said.

MDOT is trying to get an estimate on how much it will cost to install the radio system in the lights to synchronize them. Alderman Jalanivich hopes it will be in place within 30 days.

While the congestion is creating a problem, several drivers said they are willing to deal with it, because the light makes the intersection at Holcomb safer.