Its official: 35 mph speed limit signs posted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Drivers now have to officially slow down on the stretch of Seargent S. Prentiss Drive under construction.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation posted black and white 35 mph signs on the road last week, lowering the speed limit from 45.

The new speed limit will remain in place and be enforced as long as roadwork is ongoing.

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Prior to last week, orange and black construction speed limit signs had been posted. In January Natchez Police issued a few tickets based on the reduced speed limit but later found out orange signs are suggestion, not law.

But now, they&8217;ll be writing tickets again, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

&8220;Forty-five is too fast through there with all the lane changes,&8221; Mullins said. &8220;We&8217;ll be enforcing those (signs) and running radar.&8221;

MDOT Project Engineer Nellie Wimberly agreed and said there are typically workers on the side of the road who could be in danger if drivers speed.

The construction to create a partial cloverleaf intersection of Seargent S. Prentiss and Liberty Road is scheduled for completion in August, a year after its start date.

This week, the existing southwest and northeast entrance and exit ramps were closed and removed. To enter the highway from Liberty Road, drivers can use the ramp closest to the Chester Willis Park baseball field.

Construction is moving along, Wimberly said, despite some weather problems.

&8220;The rain has held us up a little bit,&8221; she said. &8220;We are getting to a place where the weather is a little better.&8221;

The next major traffic change will come in a few weeks when northbound traffic will be put on the west bridge currently used by southbound traffic. Southbound traffic will go on a road that doesn&8217;t currently exist, but will be built soon.