JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Construction work is now underway to widen part of I-10 in Jackson County from four to six lanes. The area that will be widened is between the Ocean Springs and the Highway 57 exits. The widening work is in response to an increasing amount of traffic.
Each side of the seven mile stretch will be stretched to three lanes. Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Chase Elkins said some lanes will be closed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The speed limit in that area has also been reduced to 60 miles per hour.
This construction work is expected to take two years to complete. Mallette Brothers Construction of Gautier is the contractor for the project.
At the same time the widening work is underway, MDOT is also installing a project called Intelligent Transportation Systems. It will be all along I-10 in Jackson County.
"It's a $10 million project and what it does is it incorporates numerous types of advanced technology such as radar detection, bluetooth detection, and electronic message boards," said MDOT Engineer Mike Harter.
The project also includes high definition traffic cameras.
"Traffic cameras are a very large part of this. We're actually putting in 100 high definition cameras throughout the I-10 corridor. When the project is complete, the public will be able to view that in real time via mdottraffic.com," said Harter.
For the last several weeks, crews have been installing 40 miles of fiber optic cable along I-10. That will provide critical information that will allow MDOT to analyze traffic conditions and transmit that information directly to drivers.
Stationary sensors mounted on poles along I-10 will measure traffic volume and velocity. The information will be transmitted to a traffic control center in Gulfport, which will analyze the data and relay real-time information to drivers. Then the electronic message boards along the interstate will provide instant traffic updates.
The ITS project is expected to be completed by December 2017.