The light was red. So cars on Main Street stopped. They sat at the downtown Biloxi intersection for almost two minutes.
While one driver waited, he said, "I always get anxious. But you just have to deal with it and move on."
Moving on through Biloxi isn't that easy. Many city traffic lights are old and out of sync. That's why Biloxi's next budget will include $20,000 for a traffic light study. The city wants to know which lights need to be modernized, and which one's need to be synchronized.
"Theoretically that's what should happen," Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols said. "And some lights, you may not see any improvement. Some are working as good as they can work. But in some areas, you'll see some significant improvements, especially where there are older traffic signals."
One of the older signals is at Pass Road and Popps Ferry Road. Because of the way the light cycles, traffic often grinds to a halt here. WLOX News used a stop watch to time the delays. The Pass Road traffic had a red light. But cars in the left lane a green turn arrow. On five straight occasions, not a single westbound car turned left.
"That's kind of rough," one driver said. "They need to do something about that."
The clock reached 15 seconds. The light was still red. Still, no oncoming cars. A female driver said, "I'd rather be going. Who wants to sit in the hot sun."
Because of the old traffic light, eastbound cars on Pass Road sat motionless for 23 seconds before the signal changed. "If it's wrong," the female driver said, "they need to fix it."
That's the city's plan. Nichols said, "It's an expenditure that helps move traffic. And they say it can help save gasoline, people not sitting at lights."
When Biloxi modernizes its traffic lights, it will also change out their bulbs. A new LED style light will be installed. The multiple tubes are brighter and they're more cost effective.
by Brad Kessie