Traffic changes coming to Hattiesburg

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It is a combination of ideas from the city and the university all in an effort to calm the traffic on west 4th street, mainly because of the amount of students who walk across it, and if you think the current 25 mile an hour limit is slow, under this new plan 25 is speeding.

To calm the street and make it pedestrian friendly the stretch of roadway between Highway 49 and the coliseum will become a school zone between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week with a 15 mile an hour speed limit.

By making it a school zone the roadway will stay at four lanes instead of reducing it to just two as initially proposed a few months ago by the university. City and university leaders say this was the best plan considering the opening of the $39 million Century Park Residential Development which will house close to 900 students.

Another raided crosswalk will also be put in place at the entrance of century park with the intent of funneling students to safe crossings.

"We're committed to making it work, we'll do everything we can to make this work, keeping in mind that if it doesn't then we'll be looking at other avenues. We believe this is the right way to go at this time," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree.

"I think the beauty of the mayor's plan is it slows the traffic which means it should be safe crossing, but it should not create a bottleneck which is, I think, what some of the residents in that area feared," said USM Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Paul.

Signage is expected to go up by August 1st and with Century Park opening August 13th, you can expect these changes to be effective somewhere in between.

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