Traffic light at Old 11/Richburg to be finished

By HASKEL BURNS,
The construction of a traffic signal at the intersection of Old Highway 11 and Richburg Road in Lamar County is nearly complete, with officials estimating the light being operational within the next two weeks.
 
“The paving is complete,” Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said. “We’re waiting on other paving projects in the county to be completed within the next few days, and then a striping company will come in and stripe it.
 
“They’re working on the signal now, installing the electronic components to operate the signal, so we hope to have that intersection completely finished within the next couple of weeks.”
 
In addition to the traffic light, the project also will feature turn lanes at the busy intersection. According to a traffic study done by Hattiesburg consulting firm Walker Associates, more than 7,000 vehicles enter the intersection from Old Highway 11, while more than 3,600 enter from Richburg Road.
 
Waits said although the construction has been ongoing the last few weeks, residents in the area haven’t been bothered by the process and are looking forward to having a new safety measure at the intersection.
 
“They’ve been very understanding,” he said. “The traffic was cut down (to one lane) while they were paving, but that was only a day or two, and then they put cones up to control the traffic through the newly-formed turn lanes.
 
“So it was one lane during the initial construction from time to time, but that’s been several weeks ago. The residents have all expressed their gratitude that something’s being done to improve the safety of that intersection. Those who use it realized how dangerous it was, trying to get in and out with all the traffic.”
 
County officials also have discussed other road improvements for Old Highway 11, including a project that would widen a 1.2-mile section of that highway and add a multi-use pathway along that stretch of road.
 
The $4.3 million project, which is being overseen by Walker Associates, will add a third lane on Old Highway 11, running from 16th Section Road to Old Highway 24. The 10-foot-wide multi-use pathway, which will accommodate pedestrian and bike traffic, will begin on Old Highway 24 near Oak Grove Middle School before turning north on Old Highway 11 and stopping at 16th Section Road.
 
“It won’t necessarily increase the capacity of the road, but it will help the flow of traffic and make it safer,” Waits said in a previous story.