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MDOT wants to install new traffic system on water tower

Changes to the way traffic signals are managed and the possible installation of a roundabout near the entrance to Walmart were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune City Council.

Public Works Director Eric Morris spoke to the Council about a request from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for the city to enter into an agreement concerning the installation of a new system to manage the traffic lights near Highway 11.

Morris said the plan is to install a new radio system on the top of the water tower located on Stemwood Drive. That system would control traffic light systems along Highway 11 at the intersections of Lakeshore Drive, both ends of Highland Parkway, Highway 43 North and the intersection of Highway 43 North and North Beech Street. The intersection of Highway 11 and Hayden Oaks Drive was also listed, but Morris said that since there is no light there, that intersection may be removed from the list.

Morris added that the change would include installation of traffic cameras, but those cameras would not be used to enforce traffic violations.

If the system is installed, MDOT personnel would be able to adjust the timing of the traffic lights remotely from the main office.

Morris added that a second phase of this plan is proposed by MDOT that would involve the installation of a similar system on the water well near Walmart.

Since the matter was for discussion only, no motion was made.

In another matter, the Council heard about a request to conduct a cost estimate and study concerning the possible installation of a roundabout at the entrance of Walmart and surrounding retail spaces. When asked by Councilor Tammy Valente if a roundabout is the only option, Jonathan Hickman with Dungan Engineering told the Council that there will be at least three options for the project, and not all will entail the installation of a roundabout.

“I promise you a roundabout is not the only option,” Hickman said.

Councilor Jan Stevens also asked if there was a possibility of creating a road between the area of Walmart and Home Depot. Hickman said that is also being discussed.

In other business, the Council approved a motion to install five more lights at the Municipal Airport for safety as part of the airport’s taxiway project. Hickman said the total cost of the change order is $7,360, which is expected to be covered 100 percent by funding from the Federal Aviation Administration in March of next year.

The Council also approved a motion to seek quotes for road and drainage work near the intersection of Cooper Road and Country Club Drive. Hickman said the work is needed to address not only drainage issues in that area, but a dip in the road that causes some vehicles to bottom out.   

The next meeting will be Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.