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New section of 84 four-lane open

Motorists are a little closer to having four lanes of travelbetween Brookhaven and Natchez following Thursday’s opening of anew section of road between Laird’s Crossing in Lincoln County andLucien in Franklin County.

The 5.5 mile section opened Thursday morning and traffic controlcrews worked later in the day to remove old yellow paint from theroad. With motorists obeying signs to slow down and avoid the workcrew, there were no problems.

“It’s been going pretty smooth,” said Dewayne Townsend, withTraffic Control Products, as he followed the crew and directedtraffic.

State traffic and law enforcement officials encouraged motoriststo be alert and aware of the new road conditions.

“Any change in driving conditions can cause some initialconfusion,” said Wayne Brown, Southern District TransportationCommissioner, in a statement announcing the road opening. “A littleextra caution will help this particular change go smoothly andsafely.”

Dale Stell, Mississippi Department of Transportation inspectorin the Brookhaven office, also advised caution.

“There still is some construction to be done on that section ofroad way,’ said Stell, mentioning another layer of asphalt to beput down in the west bound lane.

With the opening of the four-lane section also came an increasein the speed limit to 65 miles per hour.

The higher limit is in effect from Interstate 55 to the end ofthe four-lane section near Lucien. It is still 55 miles per hourfor the two-lane section in Franklin County.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Chris Williams saidtroopers will be enforcing posted speed limits, and he urgeddrivers to be aware of new interchanges created by the roadwork.

“Be cautious around intersections,” Williams warned.

Dickerson and Bowen Inc., of Brookhaven, was the contractor for$5.9 million Laird’s Crossing to Lucien project.

The company is also handling an approximately six-mile sectionto be four-laned between Lucien and the Homochitto River, saidCecil Estess, secretary. He said the company hopes to complete thatsection by the end of the year; however, there are some utilitylines to be moved and work will depend on that.

“Once that section is open, it should be four lanes all the wayto Natchez,” Estess said.