Mississippi ranks high in road condition-related wrecks - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi ranks high in road condition-related wrecks

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - 22-year-old army veteran Brandon Yancey died Thursday on Interstate 55 at the Gallman Exit.

He hit uneven pavement on his motorcycle.  The asphalt is a few inches higher in the         right-hand lane.  We're told someone moved one of the barriers, and that may have contributed to the fatal wreck.

Mississippi ranks in the top ten for states with the highest road-related crash costs.  The     sub-par road conditions range from uneven surfaces and lack of guard rails, to bad signage and lack of railroad crossing arms.

In 2006, the state racked up from $103.4 million to $131.4 million in crash-related costs because of bad conditions.  The best-ranking states incurred $28.4 million to $51.6 million or less in costs.

WLBT summarized the study for Central Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.

"We're rural.  We've been underfunded for many years, particularly local municipal governments.   They don't have anywhere near the resources they need to keep the highways up and the bridges up," Hall said. 

Jackson's $15 million Fortification Street project has been dragging on, for example.  As of February, the city was still trying to secure dozens of easements.

"If I had a billion dollars, I couldn't do everything we need to do in metro Jackson," Hall said.

He said he'd love to straighten out Waterworks Curve on Interstate 55, but such a project would cost an unfathomable amount of cash.

Hall praised Mississippi for completing a four-lane highway program that began in 1987.  He said $3 billion in highways are completely paid for, and no other state can boast that.  He worried that if state revenues don't improve, then there will only be road maintenance, and no new roads will be built.

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