Hattiesburg intersection under construction again

Hattiesburg intersection under construction again
Highway 98 and Barracuda Drive intersection
Dr. Darrell Burnham
Dr. Darrell Burnham

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg intersection that was reconstructed after a wreck that claimed the life of a local doctor is undergoing changes once again.

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.

In January, the intersection was reconstructed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and a directional crossover was put into place, omitting drivers to cross over the intersection entirely.

Three months later, MDOT crews are back at the intersection adding more changes.

"There are some geometry concerns for allowing a left turn for traffic heading east bound on Highway 98," said MDOT District Engineer Kelly Castleberry.

According to data collected by MDOT, from traffic patterns, to speed studies and the previous changes made, the intersection will still not allow crossover traffic.

"We have gone out and researched where the right away lines are, and we are adding some asphalt where motorists can go, and are going to allow a left hand turn for motorist east bound on 98," said Castleberry.

Some residents and travelers in the area have questioned the changes, calling it an inconvenience as well as a problem.

However, according to Castleberry, the intersection is in fact safer.

"We have not had an accident there that has come to our attention, our data is not updated daily, but it is frequently and we have seen an improvement and reduction in the amount of confusion as well," said Castleberry.

The other intersections, east and west of the Highway 98 and Barracuda intersection that allow the u-turns are not being changed.

The intersection does not warrant a traffic signal, but from studies performed by MDOT, the directional crossover was the best fit for the intersection at this time according to MDOT officials.