• 63°

Continuous overturning: Truck spills load at intersection

Chop’s Wrecker Service employee Cory Jeter and owner Michael Wheeler work with the company’s crane to get steel beams back onto a truck after it rolled while turning onto U.S. 61 from John R. Junkin Drive. No injuries were reported in the incident. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Chop’s Wrecker Service employee Cory Jeter and owner Michael Wheeler work with the company’s crane to get steel beams back onto a truck after it rolled while turning onto U.S. 61 from John R. Junkin Drive. No injuries were reported in the incident. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ An 18-wheeler that overturned Tuesday morning at the continuous flow intersection of John R. Junkin and Seargent S. Prentiss drives marks the fifth similar incident since the intersection opened in 2009.

An 18-wheeler hauling steel beams turned over at approximately 7:30 a.m. while attempting to turn right from John R. Junkin Drive onto U.S. 61 South near Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Traffic was backed up on U.S. 61 as officials worked to clean debris from the roadway. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Traffic was backed up on U.S. 61 as officials worked to clean debris from the roadway. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

The truck spilled the beams on the roadway and blocked the southbound lane of U.S. 61, directly in front of the hospital, as well as the northbound lane for a majority of the morning.

Natchez Police Department officers, Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers and other emergency crews worked to clean up the accident, bringing in a crane to move the steel beams onto another truck.

That intersection, which was created as a way to move traffic through the area at a faster pace, is no stranger to similar type incidents.

Five reports of 18-wheelers turning over, including the one Tuesday, have been completed at the continuous flow intersection since it was opened in 2009, according to Natchez Traffic Director Curtis Norton.

Norton compiles the crash data based on reports from the Natchez Police Department, but said the city has little control over that intersection.

“Basically all we have is the general maintenance of the signals there,” Norton said. “When it comes to the programming, setting up patterns or anything else, that’s basically up to the (Mississippi Department of Transportation).”

MDOT District 7 Engineer Albert White said the department is looking into solutions to prevent future incidents from happening following Tuesday’s turnover.

“We are currently looking into alternate ways to get the attention of drivers approaching that intersection,” White said.

No signs are currently placed on John R. Junkin leading up to the intersection to warn motorists of the sharp turn ahead.