Highway 11 widening project safety tips

Published 4:02 pm Saturday, May 28, 2022

With phase one of the Highway 11 widening project reaching completion, MDOT Engineer Dexter Childs has some tips to help motorists in Picayune safely navigate the changes.

Widening of Highway 11 took it from two-lanes to four lanes. It also entailed the construction of auxiliary lanes and a scenario where two turn lanes at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 43 North, and new traffic lights. These changes could lead to some drivers being confused on how to drive in some situations.

One situation involves cars that intend to exit McDonald’s t onto Highway 11 south and get into one of the two turning lanes to head toward the interstate. Childs suggests using the exit from McDonalds on Highway 43 and make a U-turn or use Acorn Lane to get onto Highway 43 to head to the interstate.

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“Depending on what time of day they might have enough time to scoot on over there,” said Childs.

Of the two turn lanes on Highway 11 south in front of the McDonald’s the right most lane will be a yielding turn lane to get onto Highway 43 North to go towards the Interstate, while the left most lane can be used to make a U-turn or also travel down 43 North.

When attempting to make U-turns Childs said it’s best to wait for a break in traffic before committing to a U-turn.

While not set in stone, Childs said there is a possibility MDOT will place a “No U-Turn” sign at the median cut through next to Fatty’s Seafood Restaurant.

“Because it is a pretty tight lane to make a U-turn,” he said.

For the first time in Picayune, there are now traffic lights that employ a flashing yellow arrow. Childs said the flashing yellow arrow on the traffic light means a turn can be attempted when traffic is clear.

“The yellow flashing is a yield, if you’re wanting to make a left turn, you’re yielding to the through traffic in the opposite lane,” said Childs.

Motorist who want to gain access to Claiborne Hill from Highway 11 south have two options, a U-turn from the far left turn lane to access Highway 11 north, or turning on Highway 43 North and attempt to cross Highway 43 to Claiborne Hill. Childs said that situation would be up to a driver’s preference. Childs said he personally would go through the red light at Highway 11 and Highway 43 then turn left into Claiborne Hill. Motorists should be aware that they cannot perform a U-turn in that location while in right lane of the double turn lane in front of McDonald’s.

Childs said MDOT should be finished with the project in the next couple months, weather permitting. All lanes are estimated to be open by the end of next week, weather permitting, he said.

All asphalt and traffic signal work is complete and crews are now getting ready to stripe the roads, finish the streetlights, and complete installation of the light signal system. That system changes the lights according to ongoing traffic patterns and also transmits traffic information to MDOT concerning congestion collisions and other traffic incidents.