Highway 16 is a main east/west road that is used by hundreds and hundreds of people each day. Highway 49 South sees thousands of vehicles each day and numerous heavy trucks hauling goods to Jackson and other places in Mississippi utilize this road.
For the past few months, Highway 16 has been closed, and Highway 49 South is in the same situation it was in immediately after the road caved.
There is a TV show titled “Highway Through Hell.” The roads they show cannot hold a candle to Old Highway 16. Old Highway 16 may be the most dangerous highway in the nation, yet hundreds of cars must use the road to get to Yazoo City and the Delta. Each morning I am awakened by the sound of a pile-driver hammering pilings into the ground over on new 16. This has been going on for months. Still, there is no detour around where this work is taking place. A detour should have been made around this area. I don’t know who is in charge of this project, but I hope a replacement comes soon. How easy it would have been to haul in some gravel, pack it down, cover it with some asphalt, and open up the road. This would have been a temporary solution, but at least hundreds of cars would not have to be diverted onto an obsolete road that was never intended to carry the current heavy traffic.
How many people have died in traffic accidents on Old Highway 16? All I know is that when I was growing up, it seemed that a fatality happened on Old Highway 16 each week. I lost some friends. One church member died. One of my friends lost a son. The track record for this obsolete highway is poor, yet some bureaucrat determined that he could close the main highway and divert heavy traffic to the “Highway from Hell.”
This is unacceptable. The State Department of Transportation is well funded, so there is no excuse for this sloppy, incompetent work. If it requires working all night every night until 16 is open, then do it. In the meantime, fix a detour around where the repair work is taking place and open up Highway 16.
No excuses! Just do it!
What genius thought that he could make a dangerous detour around the washout on Highway 49 and just disappear into the sunset? I pass that area sometimes twice a day, and nothing, I repeat nothing, is being done. The detour is dangerous, and I’m surprised that numerous wrecks have not occurred already. But the problem is a major one. Highway 49 is a major highway that allows people to travel north and south, yet we see signs that wide loads cannot use the highway. Earlier traffic was diverted onto Fletcher’s Chapel Road and then onto Myrleville Road, roads that were never designed to handle the traffic or the weight that large trucks carried. Local residents were required to make long detours in order to get to their jobs or travel to Yazoo City or destinations north and west.
Somebody is asleep at the switch. We are not living in a third world country where roads come and go with the weather. We have the manpower, engineers, and machinery to repair these washouts within a reasonable time frame. We have the know how to make detours around these areas so that traffic is not unreasonably affected.
It has taken too long to repair the washout on Highway 16. It has taken too long to get to work on the washout on Highway 49. There was not adequate planning on how to move the traffic along these highways while repair work is underway.
There is no excuse for what is now happening on both roads. These roads need to be opened as soon as a reasonable detour is constructed which should take at most a week. Then, repair of these washouts should take on a new sense of urgency. The new shift should be 24/7 until we get these roads open.
What is happening now is totally unacceptable. It may be past time to bring in a new crew who can get the jobs done!