Officials tell WLBT News the three mile guard rail along the Ross Barnett reservoir dam is not up to federal standards. Since September two near-death accidents occurred on the spillway with cars plunging into frigid waters. In September two 16 year olds slammed into the low guard rail. Both girls made it out of the submerged vehicle alive. Officials say the girls were distracted and may have been driving too fast.
Just last week, December 9, a woman who may have been driving too fast over the spillway bridge hit a patch of ice. She missed hitting the guardrail but plunged her vehicle into the reservoir's bone chilling waters. The woman made it out alive.
We questioned reservoir officials about safety of the guard rails designed to keep vehicles out of the water. According to John Sigman, the General Manager of Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, "They are not up to today's federal interstate standards that's true." Reservoir officials tell say despite the low guard rail it is substantial and does serve it's purpose. "We're doing the best we can and we feel like they work. They do restrain people from going into the lake." Sigman told WLBT News, "if we sought funding to build new guard rails they would be different."
The barrier has not been changed since 1965 when the reservoir opened, the safety net did meet necessary standards decades ago. "We'll certainly look into what if anything we learn from this. Again we know the guard rails can use some improvement. We also know the speeding situation could use a lot of attention."
When it comes to protecting your life and property, this reminder. Safe driving keeps you in roadway and guard rails are just an added benefit.
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