Bradford Drive residents accelerate call for speed bumps

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 27, 2008

Most of Annette and Buck Wilds’ outdoor time is spent behind their modified trailer home on Bradford Drive — tucked away from the whirring traffic on Fisher Ferry Road.

Their semimonthly gospel music socials and fish dinners entertain adults and close friends, as neighborhood children they’ve watched grow up in the past three decades have mostly left.

Annette Wilds said the only distraction to the otherwise quiet street of about 40 homes are vehicles moving at scary speeds.

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“They’ve gone on to bigger and better things. But, everybody still speeds through here. It’s not the people who live here, but when they go fast, they’re going 50 miles and hour,” she said.

Annette Wilds was among the handful of residents along Bradford who signed a letter asking Warren County supervisors to revisit placing speed bumps on roads such as Bradford — close to high-traffic main roads where traffic signals are few and far between.

“I wouldn’t mind having a speed bump,” Wilds said.

Upon receipt of the letter, District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale asked county engineers to assess the pluses and minuses to what’s referred to in public works as “traffic calming methods.”

“We’ve had a few of these requests in the past,” Lauderdale said.

In metropolitan areas, a multi-step process accompanies the establishment of traffic calming measures.

In Jackson, for example, to begin a study, 51 percent of dwelling occupants on roads considered for speed measures and adjacent roads must sign a petition. Then, a public hearing is held before a committee set up by the city. Approval involves agreement by at least 75 percent of affected residents. Once installed, the devices must remain installed for a year before any action is taken to remove them.     

Previous inquiries have died with previous boards on the grounds of avoiding liability in the case of vehicles being damaged by obstacles designed to slow traffic. A 2007 report prepared by county engineering firm ABMB Engineers Inc., showed bumps to be the most popular due to low installation costs — about $3,000 — and flexibility in styling them either short for an intense bump or long for a smoother one. Use was recommended with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less, but cautions were raised about drivers speeding up between bumps and lessening their effectiveness.

Challenges abound with the idea. No posted speed limit exists on the quarter-mile paved section of Bradford Drive, with the rest graveled and not on county maintenance lists. Speed checks via radar are not permitted outside most municipalities in Mississippi, despite multiple bills filed by state lawmakers in recent years.

“I’ve had several requests in the past in my subdivisions,” District 1 Supervisor David McDonald said, adding liability is still an obstacle in itself, but that the topic is rivaled in citizen requests only by paving private roads along rights-of-way not owned by the county.

Past requests in writing from citizens have come from neighborhoods such as Openwood, Greenbriar and Littlewood, situated off major roads where daily vehicle counts can exceed 1,000.

Other methods in wide use include raised intersections, traffic circles and curb extensions. Chokers — small islands of trees and flowers along outside traffic lanes — were installed by the City of Vicksburg in 2007 on parts of Washington Street downtown.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at