JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Traffic congestion just east of Pascagoula eased significantly Monday morning when the northbound portion of the Highway 611 flyover opened for traffic.
Once glance at the early morning traffic trying to get onto Industrial Road proves the need for this new traffic moving tool. Prior to opening, it's an intricate ballet of barrels being shifted around and the removal of barricades. Then the first cars come across.
So what will this flyover do? Kelly Castleberry is the MDOT district engineer.
"We will actually separate the traffic from the railroad bridge and the highway, Highway 611 and Highway 90. It will be a grade separated interchange," Castleberry explained.
On any given day, some 2000 people work at Chevron. The flyover is a big deal for them, according to company spokesman Alan Sudduth.
"Having this overpass, being able to cross over 90 and the railroad line, helps to get them in quicker, and get them in safer," Sudduth said.
Safety is a key component of this project.
"We know that in traffic jams people sometimes lose patience and folks will take chances that should not be taken, so that reduces the possibility of accidents and things of that sort," said Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris.
For the thousands of men and women who use Industrial Road and Highway 63 to get to and from work every day, the opening of at least a portion of this flyover is like a dream come true.
"Traffic here is unbelievable in the mornings and evenings, and I think this is going to help out a lot. So I'm glad to see it happening," commuter Jerrod Jones said.
"I'm sure it will save at least five or ten minutes every day because traffic backs up about 5pm, and you sit in traffic for a good five or ten minutes every day just trying to get across 90," commuter Andrew Nelson said.
Now, getting across 90 and the railroad tracks will no longer be the frustrating exercise it's been for years.
The southbound portion of the flyover should be open for traffic in the next two months. Construction on the project began in April of 2011, at a total cost of $21 million.
There's even more good news. Bids will be taken later this month to widen Highway 611 to five lanes from the base of the flyover to the end of the road near Chevron.