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DeSoto County joins traffic congestion-mitigation project

HERNANDO — DeSoto County has agreed to participate in a major $9.5 million traffic congestion-mitigation project.

The Commercial Appeal reports that the roadway project aims largely at busy Goodman Road (Mississippi Highway 302), Interstate 55 and U.S. Highway 51 affecting Horn Lake, Southaven and Olive Branch and Hernando.

Projects include installation of 37 miles of buried fiber-optic cable to aid county-city communications, 47 connected or synchronized traffic signals, 48 traffic-surveillance cameras, 63 traffic-data collectors and five overhead interstate dynamic message signs to alert drivers of hazards or detours.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation estimates that synchronized traffic signal timing alone can result in travel time reductions of 7 percent to 25 percent. Meanwhile, integrating traveler information with incident-management systems can increase peak-period speeds by 8 percent to 13 percent, to further trim travel time, said board of supervisors’ president Lee Caldwell.

“And having those cameras will help,” she said. “At Christmastime we’ll be able to see where the traffic is building up, and steer clear.”

The funds are made available to the state for transportation projects that reduce vehicular air emissions to help meet requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

DeSoto and the county’s cities are providing $3 million, representing available funds for two years, with the state contributing the bulk, $6.5 million. Construction costs are estimated at $8.3 million, with $1.2 million for engineering and design services.

“It’s exciting because all of us are involved,” said Caldwell.

MDOT will put together the contracts and bid them out.

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