Improvements planned for Hwy 49 where couple killed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Improvements planned for Hwy 49 where couple killed

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A Simpson County couple was killed in an accident on a busy stretch of Highway 49 Tuesday. A Simpson County couple was killed in an accident on a busy stretch of Highway 49 Tuesday.
FLORENCE, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A Simpson County couple was killed in an accident on a busy stretch of Highway 49 Tuesday. It's a roadway traveled by thousands daily and that many consider dangerous.

While Florence police say the location of that 18-wheeler crash is not the deadliest spot on the highway, the Mississippi Department of Transportation has plans to improve the roadway.

However, those plans won't materialize until sometime in the future.

A Harrisville couple, 82-year-old Claudie Allen and his wife 77-year-old Clara, was killed after pulling out of the Chancellor Funeral Home parking lot on Highway 49.

According to Florence Police, the 18-wheeler was in the northbound lane when it collided with the Allens' Volvo.

Wednesday investigators were in the accident reconstruction phase and examined the Chief Richard Thomas said that since 2005 there have been two accidents that involved fatalities at that location.

Thomas said the fatal scene is not a major accident area and that there are other locations along the highway where accidents occur more often.

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation an average of 32,000 vehicles travel the highway daily.

One worker at a business near Tuesday's crash scene said the highway is similar to interstates 20 and 55 with the rate of speed and volume of traffic.

But they say the problem is that there are more locations along Highway 49 where vehicles enter the roadway, making travel much more dangerous.

We were also told that because there is so much traffic, motorists in parking lots often have to wait up to five minutes before it's clear to enter the roadway.

MDOT spokesman Michael Flood said there are plans to expand Highway 49 from four to six lanes. It will extend 11 miles from Highway 469 in Florence to Old Highway 49.

Officials say those plans are in the right-of-way acquisition phase at this point. No budget or start date has been set.

A worker at Chancellor Funeral Home said the couple had not been in their business but may have visited the cemetery or just turned around in their parking lot.

The Florence Police Department is still investigating that fatal crash.

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