Highway 49 Traffic Light Requested At Saucier Rally

Saucier parents staged a rally Friday along Highway 49. Their picket signs urged drivers to slow down. And they begged MDOT to do something about a dangerous, and too often, deadly intersection in front of Saucier Elementary School.

That intersection was the scene of a deadly accident eight days ago. For Saucier residents, that wreck was the final straw. They want a stop light to control the traffic at the Highway 49, Highway 67 intersection. And they won't stop protesting until they get one.

Just about everybody in Saucier has a story about a wreck at the unlighted intersection.

"My good friend was killed here last week," Etta Watts said while holding a picket sign at the intersection. "I just want a light up to see if it will change anything before anybody else has to die."

During Friday's rally, protesters kept yelling "slow down" at passing vehicles. Liz Barkfelt was very passionate about protecting the Saucier community.

"Who wants to subject their children to this?" she asked. "Our kids deserve to be safe."

About two dozen people staged the rally at the dangerous intersection in front of Saucier Elementary School. That's where Cynthia Fairley sends her children. When Fairley saw the crowd that gathered for her protest, she said, "It's a blessing. Saucier cares."

The protesters begged MDOT to find a way to reduce the stress at Saucier's main intersection, because the constant threat of a traffic accident causes plenty of stress at home. Just ask Stacey Kendall.

"Every time you hear about a wreck, I rush up here to make sure it doesn't involve a school bus," she said.

According to Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown, MDOT realizes something has to be done out here. In fact, Brown told WLOX News, the highway department is planning on putting a temporary flashing yellow light here on Highway 49, and a flashing red light on Highway 67.

The protesters want more. "Hopefully they'll listen and put a light out here, put signs up stating our kids are out here playing," Kendall said.

Brown said a stop light could be installed by next school year.

Actually, a symbolic light went up during the protest. Ron Dougherty used a car battery to power it.

"I just thought it would do a good purpose out here and help attract attention to this serious issue that we have in Saucier," he said.

MDOT's Wayne Brown said engineers had already started to look at what turn lanes would need to be added if a stop light was erected in Saucier. He estimated that the cost of a traffic light at the 49/67 intersection would be about $600,000.