DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - A new detour in Diamondhead began Monday, to keep drivers safe in what has been an area plagued by traffic problems for years. Those traveling eastbound on I-10 wishing to get off at the Diamondhead exit will now be detoured south, before they can go north into the city.
The reason for the detour is so traffic won't back up on the exit anymore, causing some drivers trying to exit, to get stopped on the interstate. Local drivers tell WLOX they are happy to see the city doing something to make it a safer exit.
"It's very dangerous. Because I mean people can be coming up and didn't know you were stopped and just bam, smash into you," said driver Michael Siren, Jr.
At the recommendation of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the City of Diamondhead is redirecting traffic south, until they can find a safe solution.
"MDOT controls the intersection, so they have identified a problem, because there are three lanes coming over the bridge. The farthest right lane, sometimes between 3:30 and 5:30 gets backed up and people are stuck on the interstate," said Diamondhead Councilman Ernie Knobloch.
For it being the first day of the detour, traffic flowed smoothly, and Diamondhead Police Officer Darrell Hughes, also known as the dancing cop, did his best to keep driver's frustrations down.
"It may be an inconvenience to those who are trying to rush home, but what's wrong with an extra minute of a drive to be safe," said Siren.
According to Councilman-At-Large, Ernie Knobloch, that's exactly how long the detour takes about one minute once you get off the exit, but city leaders don't want motorists to have to detour forever.
"MDOT is coming and trying to develop a plan to solve it permanently, but I don't know what a timeline is," said Knobloch.
One local driver even offered an idea of what the city could do to fix the off ramp.
"Lots of places will have a two lane with a light, and have a two lane off ramp that might help cut the traffic in half," said driver Michael Bishop.
For now, the city will detour drivers Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., when traffic entering the off ramp is heaviest. Councilman Knobloch says they plan to have an officer directing traffic at the off ramp each day, at least until drivers get used to the detour.