MDOT prepares for $50 million in Jackson County improvements

MDOT prepares for $50 million in Jackson County improvements
According to MDOT, 50,000 vehicles travel the between exit 50 and 57 every single day. (Photo source: WLOX News)
According to MDOT, 50,000 vehicles travel the between exit 50 and 57 every single day. (Photo source: WLOX News)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When I-10 was built through Jackson County, it was a much needed four-lane thoroughfare.

But as the years have rolled on, many drivers say the demands of traffic have become too much for the highway.Those who commute see the risks of traveling the highway on a daily basis.

"It's really dangerous," said Dannyce Barker, who regularly travels from Biloxi to her job at the Cast Iron Cafe on Highway 57. "With two lanes, it's always backed up with traffic," said Barker.

Barker's boss Tim Wold says the congestion can sometimes get out of hand.

"There's times the traffic's backed up from exit 50 going all the way back to the Pascagoula Moss Point bridge," said Wold.

According to MDOT, the number of vehicles between exit 50 and 57 is staggering.

"50,000 vehicles travel that every single day," said Mike Harter, area engineer.

The current plan is to widen the section from four lanes to six, although improvements won't be limited to the number of lanes. Harter says the section will be paved with a new type of asphalt that allows water to drain through it.

"That eliminates pooling and any kind of spray you might get from an 18-wheeler," Harter said.

The new pavement has already been used in the improvements made to the interstate in D'Iberville.

"In rain events, you'll notice that the shoulder is wet, but the travel lane is dry," said Harter.

In addition to new paving technology, Harter says 100 cameras and 10 electronic signs will be installed throughout the county as part of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). Parts of the state are already using the technology.

The $50 million project is slated to start in April and last for around 20 months. Harter says the driving public should only expect lane closures at night Sundays through Thursdays during that time.

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