Highway Creating Dangerous Situation In Picayune, Residents Say

Dr. James Riser says he alerted State Transportation leaders about a potential problem on Hwy. 43 before he built his clinic nearly two years ago.

"We service about 3,000 patient visits a month, which translates to about 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles a month coming in," Dr. Riser said. "We're concerned about safety for our patients and the volume of vehicles that we actually dump onto Hwy. 43 right here."

Dr. Riser and others say part of the problem is Hwy. 43 goes from four lanes down to two, right in front of his clinic and an adjacent car dealership. Another problem he says is a guardrail which makes it tough to get in or out of the businesses.

"I've told them time and time again, 'This is an accident looking for a place to happen,'" Picayune resident Russell Foster said.

Foster is a regular patient at Riser's Clinic. He says he's contacted the Mississippi Department of Transportation several times over the past eight months.

"I really believe Mississippi Department of Transportation has drug their feet long enough on this issue," he said. "They have told us they would address it, and they haven't done it."

An MDOT Spokesman told WLOX News, MDOT is "still evaluating the situation... to make sure the safest option is implemented." But those who drive Hwy. 43 everyday say they wish the department would stop evaluating and act, so that near misses don't turn into deadly accidents.

By Al Showers

Online Producer Glenn Cummins