Intersection petition collects 5,000 names

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 14, 2009

More than 5,000 people have weighed in on the Laird’s Crossingdebate, according to officials from one Lincoln County volunteerfire department.

Petitions that had been positioned around Brookhaven and thewestern half of the county asking state transportation officialsfor a “four-way stop or other preventive measures” at theintersection of Highway 84 and Jackson Liberty Drive were due atZetus Volunteer Fire Department’s monthly meeting Thursday night.Chief Dale Anding said he was floored to count 5,444 names on thepetitions.

“I think it’s outstanding, if that doesn’t show the support ofthe community, nothing does – that speaks for itself,” he said.”It’s just overwhelming the support we’re getting on this. We madeit up at the last meeting and it was out for less than one monthand got that many signatures.”

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Anding said more petitions would be going out this weekend, aswell. When members of the department put their heads together, theyrealized most of the signatures were gathered in a condensedarea.

Mississippi Department of Transportation officials have saidthey are working on the problem at the dangerous intersection byraising the grade of a depression or “dip” in the road. Theintersection does not qualify under federal guidelines for afour-way stop.

But Anding said the four-way at East Lincoln Road and Highway 84greatly improved the very similar problem there in the early 1990s,and the one at Highways 51 and 84 made a big difference too.

“On all three, you’ve got one road traveling east and west thatdoesn’t stop, and at all three intersections, you’ve got onetraveling north and south that does. What’s the difference?” hesaid. “I’m not a rocket scientist, and I’m no engineer, but youcan’t tell me raising this grade is going to solve the problembetter that making everyone stop and pay attention.”

On that note, however, Anding also echoed the concerns of lawenforcement and MDOT officials.

“A four-way can’t completely solve the problem either, but itcan make a big difference,” he said. “Still the fact remains thatpeople need to stop and make sure nothing’s coming before they pullout into the road.”

And the fact that the community is behind the ongoing effortneeds to send a clear message to elected officials, Andingsaid.

“That’s the point we’re trying to make, there are 5,000 voteshere, plus, and we’re still going,” he said.