Three accidents in the last week involving two 18-wheelers and a large rental truck have brought attention to a stretch of Highway 49 south of Seminary.
All three occurred in the southbound lane. Before Highway 49 North became a four-lane highway and the northbound lanes were added, it was a two-lane highway in what is now the southbound lanes. Many officials are saying that the lack of shoulders are a contributing factor to many of these accidents.
"Along with the fact that we have had three semi wrecks in this particular stretch of the highway, I would attribute that to the fact we have no shoulders," said Brent Barfield, Troop J, Mississippi Highway Patrol. "It simply boils down to the fact that if you are operating a vehicle, especially in the southbound side, you simply have to play attention. There's no room for error, so you have to pay close attention."
Despite the three wrecks in the last week, Barfield says the number of accidents in that stretch are not out proportion with other similar type roads in the state.
"It's a simple fact that the volume of traffic that travels Highway 49 and when you have that volume your accidents are going to go up. Most of the accidents in that area occur in the southbound side due to the simple fact we don't have shoulders."
In recent months the stretch between Seminary to the Forrest County line has been undergoing a re-paving project, though widening of the roadway is not part of the project. Mississippi Department of Transportation District 7 Engineer Albert White says it is a possibility in the future.
"We're always looking to try to do something and get the funding to reconstruct those lanes and make them wider and safer," said White.