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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -
If you think traffic around Sangani Boulevard and Highway 67 in D'Iberville is hectic now, just wait. Not only are some stores in that area opening before Black Friday, this year, drivers will have to contend with a huge construction zone.
On Monday, new signs went up around the intersection leading into Sangani Boulevard and the Promenade Shopping Center. Those signs urge drivers to use extra caution and find other ways to get to and from the stores and restaurants.
It's estimated that more than 5,000 cars pass through the busy intersection at Sangani and Highway 67 every hour. And that's just on a normal day. Now, factor in a rush of Christmas shoppers who have to dodge concrete pipes, orange barrels, and tight turns.
The construction zone is where MDOT is building a flyover.
"We know the heavy traffic is going to get much, much heavier. We're expecting it," said Chuck Starita, MDOT Project Engineer.
MDOT engineers and D'Iberville Police recently met with merchants in the area to go over their holiday traffic plan.
"We try to explain to all of our citizens and our merchants that there's only so much real estate out here, there's only so many lanes of traffic, and you're going to have backups," said Clay Jones with the D'Iberville Police Department. "Anytime you combine construction with an influx of traffic, you're going to have more accidents, and we're just here to minimize that."
Starting Thursday night and through the weekend, extra officers will be on duty at various intersections. They can manually override the traffic lights, if needed.
"Hopefully, it'll ease some of the burden. On red lights themselves, we're going to use the flush method. If it gets too backed up, you'll see officers move into the intersections and actually flush traffic out," said Jones.
MDOT and the Biloxi Police Department are also providing message signs that will be posted on I-110 and Highway 67. The signs guide drivers to alternate routes to get in and out of the shopping center.
"We'd like for them to use the back entrance to the Promenade. If they're exiting out of Sangani, they can go Lamey Bridge Road all the way to Highway 15. It's a very quick and safe route for them, and that'll alleviate some of this pressure of the traffic," said Jones.
"We're putting out extra traffic control devices and relocating some of them. The devices we have out in order to detour traffic and whatever we can do to help," said Starita.
Extra officers will be working in the area every weekend from now until Christmas.
"Show some patience, be safe, and be aware," said Jones. "Everybody's going to be shopping. There's a lot of construction out here. We're asking everyone to be a little bit more aware and a little bit more patient during this holiday season."
The construction will shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday Wednesday afternoon and will resume on Monday. But it is still a dangerous site, so please be careful.
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