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MDOT hopes west end drainage work on Highway 11 will be faster

Picayune drivers may feel a sense of déjà vu now that drainage work is underway along the west side of Highway 11.

Drainage work along the east side of the highway began early in 2020 and continued for much of that year. The work is part of the Highway 11 widening project, which will turn the road into a four lane highway from Cayten Street to West Lakeshore Drive.

With drainage work done, light poles installed, new sidewalks, gutters and a new asphalt base on the east side of the highway, the project shifted to the west side earlier this month. Drivers can expect to see drainage work continue on the west side of the highway for at least the next several months said Mississippi Department of Transportation Engineer Dexter Childs. After the drainage work is complete, contractors will begin work on an asphalt base.

Depending on crew schedules, base work in some sections may begin before drainage work is completed in other sections of the highway.

The drainage work has been subcontracted to John C. Lee, said Childs. The contractor for the Highway 11 widening project, Barriere Construction, made the decision to subcontract the drainage work. On the east side of the highway, Barriere completed most of the drainage work.

Childs is hopeful the drainage work will go faster on the west side than it did on the east side.

“When we first started, there was a little learning curve, getting the ball rolling,” he said.

He thinks it is unlikely that work on the west side of the highway will be done by the end of the year.

“I would love to be done at the end of this year, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.

Drivers should be cautious while making turns at Highway 11 intersections. On the east side of the highway, small drop offs remain in some areas between new and old asphalt. There are slopes going from the new to existing asphalt, but sometimes construction barrels get moved or misplaced and expose the drop offs. That can lead to an unpleasantly bumpy ride.