Deadly Hattiesburg intersection reconstructed by MDOT

Deadly Hattiesburg intersection reconstructed by MDOT
Highway 98 intersection
Darrell Burnham
Darrell Burnham

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg intersection that claimed the life of a local doctor has prompted the Mississippi Department of Transportation to reconstruct the flow of traffic.

Dr. Darrell Burnham was transported to Forrest General Hospital where he died from injuries sustained in an accident that occurred Oct. 19, 2014 at the Highway 98 and Barracuda Drive intersection.

With in the past two days, motorist traveling along Highway 98 have seen some changes at the intersection.

"MDOT has studied the intersection to see what improvements could be made, and we have determined that it does not meet the standard for a traffic signal," said MDOT District Engineer Kelly Castleberry.

According to the data collected by MDOT, from traffic patterns, to speed studies and motorist actions the department stepped in and made changes.

"Based on accident history and driver usage, we put in a directional crossover, we omitted the allowance of drives to cross the highway into that intersection and make a left on Highway 98 depending on the direction they are going," said Castleberry.

"That movement begin prohibited is what was causing majority of the accidents to happen, we prohibited that movement with the directional crossover," said Castleberry.

Castleberry did state that the movement of traffic was not the cause of all of the accidents. When asked if the recent death of Dr. Burnham was a factor in the changes, Castleberry had this to say.

"Burnhams death was a contributing factor in this decision."

"We have performed studies and based on motorists actions and other reports, and this was the best fit at this time for the intersection," said Castleberry.

According to Castleberry, MDOT will continue to monitor the intersection, after the "break-in period," and if changes are needed, MDOT will adjust it as needed.

MDOT has installed the crossover intersections in numerous cities across Mississippi and currently working on the second one in Gulfport.

"We did this all over, and in Gulfport we are installing the second, and have stats that show a great reduction in accidents at these intersections," said Castleberry.

Motorist that are east bound that want to get to the church can go to King Road, and they have two ways to go to the church from there with a light at the intersection for safety.