Jackson area traffic congestion to get relief - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson area traffic congestion to get relief

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Jackson has some of the busiest highways in the state, and it doesn't take long to get drivers thoughts on rush hour traffic.

"It's terrible. Nobody knows how to drive and it's congestion. I'm just glad it's finally repaved because before they repaved it was even worse," says Jamie Gagliano. 

"It's a 45 minute journey from my house down here at Byram to University hospital. That's way too long to go for that short of a distance," explains resident Kenny DeLaughter. 

"They helped it a lot when they put the extra exit here at Byram, cause it was horrible. Traffic would stack up for miles back there, and I would like to see it down past Terry the same way," says Vernice Harrison. 

One area of concern is I-55 south toward Byram.

It was resurfaced last year because the roadway was so dangerous.

Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall understands there is a traffic jam in every direction entering Jackson. He says construction to make I-55 six lanes from McDowell Road to Byram is scheduled to begin next year.

"We're going to take most of it in the median. That's the one good thing that will make it move fast because we don't have to buy right of way," explains Hall. 

Once the additional lanes are added more construction will help traffic flow.

"We're gonna get those lanes added and then we'll come back later and redo the interchanges," says Hall. 

The interstate is convenient but taking side roads and highways could relieve congestion.

"The interstates were never meant to carry local traffic. The interstate highway system was originated to move traffic across country, but every city, just like Jackson, has allowed it to become commuter traffic," explains Hall.

Here is a list of other highway construction projects planned or underway in the Jackson metro area, according to Hall:

  • I-20 eastbound, Rankin County near Brandon, two lanes are under construction.
  • I-55 north, between Madison and Ridgeland, two additional lanes (making it eight lanes of traffic) and a new interchange just began construction.
  • Construction at the I-55 Gluckstadt interchange is scheduled to start next year.
  • Highway 463 construction should be complete in a few weeks.
  • Highway 471 in Rankin County will be soon have five lanes, from Highway 25 to Highway 80. This plan will be split into two projects and could start as early as next year.
  • Highway 468 construction will start at the existing four lane and be extended to Airport Road (Highway 475). Construction is scheduled to begin next year.

An overpass is being constructed to avoid the traffic circle near Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. Once complete this fall, motorists will not have to drive through the traffic circle and can drive over Old Brandon Road.

Hall says this could be the costliest project and most difficult. Additional lanes will be added to Highway 49 south between the weigh station and Florence. The project is scheduled to begin in 2014.

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