MDOT officials say traffic study will determine whether damaged light gets replaced

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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NATCHEZ — In late August, a traffic signal at an intersection on U.S. 61 North near Pedro’s restaurant was accidentally knocked down by workers contracted by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and has remained grounded ever since.

Albert White, the district engineer with MDOT, said this is because a traffic study is being conducted to determine whether or not the signal — which is owned by MDOT — is actually needed and worth replacing.

“We’ve taken this time while it’s down to see how traffic flows without it,” White said. “We’re looking at whether or not that signal is still warranted or needed and will be taking it out if it’s not needed.”

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At the time of the accident, MDOT workers were working nights to repave the busy section of U.S. 61 when traffic was at its lowest volume. No one was hurt during the incident.

White said the City of Natchez does minor repairs on MDOT traffic signals, such as replacing the bulbs when they go out, but MDOT owns them.

An APAC MS Inc. dump truck accidentally backed into the traffic light.

“They (APAC) will still have to pay for the existing equipment that was damaged, even if the signal is not replaced,” White said.

White said the traffic study is likely nearing its end and no major traffic incidents have been noted at the intersection without the traffic signal.

No timeframe for when the traffic light would be removed or replaced was given.