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Area not represented well by Southern MDOT district

The frustration by city and county officials to install clusterlighting along exit ramps of I-55 is just another in a long line ofissues Lincoln County has had over the years with the MississippiDepartment of Transportation.

A few years back there were safety issues related to the removalof traffic lights along Monticello Street. Despite safety concernsbrought up in several public hearings, MDOT officials refused to beswayed claiming budget considerations.

In the mid 1980s MDOT officials also refused to consider trafficlights at the intersections of Highway 84 and 51 as well as Highway84 and East Lincoln Road. Despite the best efforts of city andcounty leaders at the time, highway officials simply said no.Again, budget considerations were the basis for MDOT’s refusal.

It took several tragic accidents involving fatalities at bothintersections for a review of the situation and the currentfour-way stops to be installed.

Now we come to the cluster lighting issue along I-55. Three yearsago, MDOT told city and county officials that it would be a minimumof three years until we could be considered. A letter recentlyreceived by the city of Brookhaven from Southern District HighwayCommissioner Wayne Brown says it may be another three years.

A frustrating situation, in that most other cities along I-55 arelighted – many of which are smaller than Brookhaven. But again MDOTis using budget issues as an excuse.

We agree with Alderman Les Bumgarner’s comments during last weekscity board meeting. This area is not being represented as it shouldand agree that Commissioner Brown holds the key to the installationof the lights. Local voters need to put pressure on theCommissioner or work to elect someone else who is more interestedin the safety of citizens in our corner of SouthwestMississippi.