Work to widen Highway 11 not expected to begin until January

Published 7:38 am Friday, November 1, 2019

Work to widen Highway 11 has been rescheduled and is currently not expected to begin until January 2020.

Construction work to widen Highway 11 has been pushed back to January because the work to relocate utilities along the highway is not complete, said Katey Roh, public information officer for the Mississippi Department of Transportation. MDOT, several utility companies, the Pearl River County Utility Authority and the city of Picayune had to work together to relocate utilities, Roh said.

Utility crews are currently in the area completing utility relocation, she said. Water, sewer and gas lines have been relocated in preparation for the widening of Highway 11, according to previous coverage, although water line tie ins and tie ins for the sewer system were not completed as of early October.

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Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King announced in July that MDOT had initial approval for $25 million in funding to widen Highway 11 to four-lanes with a raised center median and a second phase is planned to replace the Highway 11 bridge over the East Hobolochitto Creek, according to previous coverage.

There is still some pending litigation and pending court cases surrounding the project, Roh said, which MDOT is not able to comment on.

“We have the right of entry to all parcels. That means we can move forward with the project and get it started,” Roh said.

There will be several phases to the widening of the highway concerning traffic diversion. During phase 1 of the widening project, Highway 11 traffic will remain on the existing roadway, according to an MDOT traffic control plan. A center turn lane in conflict with the proposed northbound lane will be removed, the plan states.

Access to six local roads east of Highway 11 will be closed during phase 1. Only a single side road can be closed at a time, and road closures are limited to seven calendar days, the plan states. Every day of excess road closures will result in a $5,000 fine, according to the plan. The roads affected include Carter Street, Laird Street, East Sycamore Street, Stemwood Drive, Highland Parkway and Country Club Road.

The contractor is required to maintain traffic on the Highland Hospital entrance and Lakeshore Drive during construction on the side roads, the plan states.

Phase 1 construction will include creating the pavement structure on the east side of Highway 11, drainage work and construction on local roads, the plan states.

In phase 2 of the project, traffic will move to the widened east side of Highway 11, according to the plan, and local road access west of the highway will be closed on eight streets. Again, road closures are limited to a single side road at a time and for a maximum of seven calendar days. The roads included in the plan are Carter Street, Farrell Street, Circle Drive, Sycamore Street, Acorn Lane, Richardson-Ozona Road, Haydon Oaks Drive and Seal Road.

Phase 2 construction will include extending Farrell Street, replacing pipe under Farrell Street, removing Carter Street and Circle Drive, building the pavement structure on the west side of Highway 11, constructing drainage, signal poles and curbs and gutters across the proposed roadway.

During phase 3 of the widening project, northbound traffic on Highway 11 will remain on the east side and southbound traffic will shift to the west side, while the contractor constructs a median along the highway, the plan states.

Phase 4 and 5 of the proposed roadwork involve widening 43 and placing the final lift of pavement on Highway 11, according to the traffic plan.

The traffic control plans currently in place could change when construction begins, Roh said.