The Mississippi Department of Transportation has joined forces with the City of Picayune to conduct a multi-million dollar expansion of Highway 11. The project will expand the road from Cayten St. (near Italian Grill) and extend all the way to Lakeshore Dr. (the entrance to Hide-A-Way Lake), widening it to four lanes with a middle island. MDOT will cover 100% of the costs of building the road.
The main benefit of the project will be the increased traffic flow at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 43 during peak hours. A number of residents have voiced concerns about the traffic there between 3:00pm and 5:00pm and the danger caused by the congestion. The widened road will essentially double the traffic flow, thereby eradicating the problem. Notably, the road will bring a nice clean look with it, which will add a new appeal to the North end of town.
However, the project does come with a catch. In order to build the road, MDOT is requiring that the utilities underneath the road be relocated. Water, sewer, gas, fiber optics, and telephone poles will all have to be moved before the road’s construction can begin, a cost of about $2.1 million. MDOT will pay approximately 30% of the utility relocation costs, while the City of Picayune and the Pearl River County Utility Authority will be required to cover the other 70% according to Jonathan Hickman of the City's Engineering office.
The work is expected to begin mid-August with the utility relocation, followed by the construction of the road in approximately 1 year.
Hickman stated that esidents should prepare for inconveniences while the work is being done, including traffic redirection and disruptions to parking at businesses lining the highway between those streets.