MDOT in beginning stages of MS 15 project in Laurel

Improvements may be coming to parts of MS 15 in Laurel.
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation met with Laurel city leaders today in one of the first steps for a new project that could impact parts of State Route 15.

“We’re looking at a little bit of everything,” said MDOT 6th District Engineer Kelly Castleberry. “We’re looking at the volume which is roughly 35,000 vehicles a day that travel that corridor every day.”

MDOT says that high amount of traffic and high accident numbers are why the improvements are needed.

“We’re looking at the businesses, the number of trips that people make to those businesses, the number of access points to all of those businesses where they come out onto the highway,” Castleberry said. “And where people are going, you know, where are they coming from and where are they going to. Trying to make the best decision on how to improve that corridor.”

We’re told the main goal is to change certain aspects of the roadway to make it a safer area for drivers.

“Right now there’s a center turning lane pretty much along that entire corridor,” Castleberry said. “We will look at trying to modify that into turning points at certain access points along the corridor. So, we would allow left turns, we would probably allow U-turns at signal lights to intersections...”

City leaders say though there will be traffic changes during construction time, businesses should not notice any major long-term impacts.

“Nobody should have to close,” said Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee. “It’s just some improvement. It’s never a good time to do road work, but it’ll be something that everybody will still have access to their businesses. And in the end, as with so many other things in road construction, in the end, it’ll be so much better for everybody.”

We’re told this project is still in the very early stages and construction is not expected to begin until fall 2023.

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