PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - It will be more than a year until drivers can travel down four lanes along a portion of Highway 11 through Picayune.
But until the projects completion, businesses along the road have to deal with some issues. Starting on Jan. 4, MDOT realigned traffic on the highway for a $15 million reconstruction project from Cayten Street to Lakeshore Drive.
Traffic cones, signs and heavy machinery now cover the west side of the road, near where Landrum Florist has been in business for nearly 77 years.
“I come from a family that loves flowers,” owner Joe Landrum said.
Joe and his family’s passion for the shop has work kept the businesses afloat for decades.
“It’s the reason why I’m still here.” said Landrum.
But after more than half of a century standing by, he finally gets to see progress outside of his window.
“50 years I’ve been waiting for them to unload the bulldozers out here and start spreading the dirt.” said Landrum.
Following Hurricane Camille in 1969, officials told Landrum to keep a look out for the highway widening project soon to come. He now says the current project is something long overdue.
“It’ll be many years before they complete this highway all the way through,” said Landrum.
While businesses along the road say they’re glad to finally see some construction being done, they also fear the impacts it could have on customers and other people behind the wheel.
“It’s backed traffic up quite a bit.” Landrum said.
The congestion isn’t the only problem as the project pushes forward.
“I know I’m going to have to rearrange my parking situation.” said Landrum.
The issues with traffic flow also comes as small business struggle during the hardships of the pandemic.
“Not only me, it’s been a lot of people that’s really suffered from this,” said Landrum.
However, the Korean War veteran feels he can push through - after a life filled with combat, hurricanes and other difficulties.
“I’m going to try to make it until at least a 100 years old,” said Landrum.
The widening project should be completed by Fall 2022. Phase 2 of the renovations include adding a new bridge over the East Hobolochitto Creek and that will start in 2023 and be completed in 2025.