Unsafe Biloxi intersection moving to new location

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Drivers heading south on Eisenhower Drive enjoy a pretty straight road. But that changes when they get closer to the intersection at Highway 90. The road suddenly veers to the right. MDOT is stepping in to fix the dogleg.

"We're going to straighten this section of this intersection of Eisenhower out to Highway 90," said MDOT engineer Kelly Castleberry.

He says the main reason for the road realignment is safety. Trees seem to block drivers' views.

"The first one of two cars can see the traffic signal, but every car past that is unable to see it due to the live oaks," said Castleberry.

So MDOT is moving the skewed stretch of Eisenhower roughly 300 to 400 feet east of its existing location. Basically, the new road will switch to the other side of Wendy's Restaurant. The move also means the intersection, which currently sits on private property, will be on land that belongs to the city of Biloxi.

"He's going to come in and undercut this grass. He'll tear out that stump. The traffic light will be moved. That wall that separates the eastbound and westbound lanes, there are some pretty good cracks in that wall. We're going to move everything down," said Castleberry.

The contractor has already started the work, by placing milled asphalt on the new site. The project is expected to take about four months. That means the construction will be going on during one of the busiest shopping seasons for Edgewater Mall and Edgewater Village. But Castleberry says that shouldn't affect traffic that much.

"It'll be a little impact, but they'll be able to get to the mall and shop, and go where they need to go," said Castleberry. "Edgewater Mall does have its own signal, which is just east of the current one here at Eisehower. And Edgewater Mall is aware of the change."

The project will cost about $300,000 and it's being funded by the Federal Highway Administration and MDOT. Once the new road is finished in February of 2009, the old section will revert to the owners of Edgewater Village -- Peyton Cottrell Interests of Texas.