Hwy. 26 traffic advised not to use smaller, rural roads as detours around road collapse
GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Authorities in George County are advising drivers not to take some of the smaller, rural roads when trying to detour around Highway 26, which collapsed two weeks ago following heavy rainfall during Hurricane Ida.
There has been an increase in traffic on Frank Murphy Road and Cochran Tower Road, which detours around the community of Crossroads where the Highway 26 collapse happened. Those roads are not designed to support the increased traffic, say authorities. The persistent rain that has fallen over the last two weeks has left the area saturated and has officials concerned about the stability of the roads.
Authorities have since closed those roads to commercial truck traffic and are now advising all drivers to detour to Highway 98 or Highway 57.
Crews are now readying to do major patchwork in that area and add an overlay to reinforce those roads and keep drivers safe. The county is also adding 30 mile per hour speed limit signs to remind everyone to slow down when traveling in the area.
Failure to obey a traffic device such as a barricade or “No Trucks” sign is a violation of MS Code Ann. 63-3-313, and will result in a moving violation citation being issued, and points being charged to your license.
The George County Sheriff’s Office, along with MDOT and MHP, will be increasing patrols in this area. Authorities warn that any vehicle found to be disregarding a traffic control device, including using any portion of the ditch to go around the washout, will be stopped and cited.
No timeframe has been released yet on how long the repairs to Highway 26 will take but the road closure will likely affect drivers for months. Plans are in development right now to get the washed out portion of Highway 26 repaired. However, getting the busy roadway back into driving condition will be an undertaking.
County officials and engineers are keeping in close contact with Mississippi Department of Transportation as they work together to put a plan in place.
“They’ve done some soil bores here. They’re trying to put together the package to fix the road back and possibly - hopefully, with everything going well - by mid-October, they can start on something as far as getting it back together. A timeframe? We don’t really have a full timeframe on that because they’re still working on the design and everything, as I understand,” said Henry Cochran, president of the George County Board of Supervisors.
With the highway no longer accessible, drivers are advised to go to Highway 98 or Highway 57 to reach their destination. Highway 98 is approximately 17.6 miles north of Highway 26 and can provide access to Highways 63 and 49, as well as Interstate 59. Wade-Vancleave Road is approximately 21 miles south of Highway 26 on Highway 57 and can provide access to Highway 63 and Interstate 10.
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