Highway 11 widening to begin within 30 days
Published 7:00 am Friday, July 5, 2019
Work to widen Highway 11 from the intersections of Cayten Street and Lakeshore Drive will begin within the next 30 days, said Tom King, Southern District Transportation Commission at a press conference Wednesday.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has initial approval for $25 million for the two-phase project, King said. Phase one will entail widening Highway 11 to a four-lane highway with a raised center median, King said. The highway will have drainage improvements, King said.
Phase two will replace the bridge over the East Hobolochitto Creek and improve Highway 11 from the intersection of Cayten street to Fourth Street, King said. Phase two is expected to begin within the next eight to ten months, but there is not an exact start date yet, King said.
A new bridge will be built to the East of the existing bridge, King said. The existing bridge will be open to traffic while the new bridge is under construction, after which the existing bridge will be demolished after the new bridge is open to traffic, King said. MDOT is still acquiring right of ways for the new bridge, King said.
The replacement bridge will feature a walkway for pedestrian traffic and an approximately four-foot high barrier between pedestrians and vehicle traffic, King said. The pedestrian walkway will be well lit and improve safety for motorists and pedestrians, King said. Sidewalks and lighting will not be added to the rest of Highway 11, King said. The total project will probably take up to three years to complete, King said.
“Progress sometimes hurts business. Our mission is not to hurt businesses. Our mission is to help businesses. A place like this, a city like this, you don’t plan for today, you got to plan for tomorrow and that’s what this project is all about,” King said.
Drawings for the design of the project are available in the Hattiesburg and Jackson offices, King said.
City officials, local business owners and state legislators were in attendance of Wednesday’s press conference to address concerns.
Handy Cleaner owners Gloria and Jerry Glidewell said they are not opposed to progress, but are concerned about the impact widening of the road could have on their business. They also aired complaints about being notified of the meeting the same morning it was set to take place. Gloria Glidewell said they were frustrated that they were not notified days in advance of the press conference.
King said MDOT public relations personnel notified the local media and city employees, which is their normal method of informing communities about press conferences.