School traffic headache to last longer

Published 11:30 am Friday, August 8, 2014

School traffic is always a headache the first few days of the new semester, but this year’s traffic-endued headaches are going to last a little longer.

Vicksburg Warren School District students, depending on their age group and school, may be dropped off at school between 7:15 a.m. and 8:35 a.m. when class begins Friday.

Dismissals are at 2:50 p.m. for elementary school students, 3:40 p.m. for junior high students and 3:50 p.m. for high school students.

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“In the morning and the afternoon, expect traffic around the schools for at least an hour longer,” said Warren County Undersheriff Jeff Riggs.

Parents need to be sure their children are paying attention to oncoming traffic while drivers need to be on the lookout for buses and students, Vicksburg police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

“Most people who might be walking or loading or unloading from school buses, they’re not watching out for the motoring public,” he said. “With the changing of school hours, there will be kids going to and from school at hours that the public in the past has not been used to seeing.”

In the city, the area around Vicksburg High School is most frequently the cause of traffic snarls during the first week or so of school, Armstrong said.

“You have a lot of foot traffic, bus traffic and vehicle traffic going in and out of the school,” he said. “Safety is a priority of ours and we are going to be out during those hours when school is letting in and out. We will have a stronger police presence to slow the motoring public down.”

In the county, the major trouble spot is on Mississippi 27 where traffic is entering and exiting from both Warren Central High School and Beechwood Elementary School, Riggs said.

“That’s going to be a real heavy traffic period now because you’ve got an elementary that’s got heavy traffic coming in and it’s going to be extended because the high school comes in about when their school starts,” Riggs said of the school start times.

U.S. 61 North might also experience delays because of traffic headed toward Sherman Avenue Elementary, Riggs said.

Traffic enforcement will be stepped up until the traffic patterns have evened out, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“Just as we always do, we will have extra personnel out in and around all the schools that lie outside of the city limits. We will continue that presence for at least the first full week,” Pace said. “Throughout the year, as schools are in session, the uniformed patrol units keep a vigil on the schools and will be seen not only monitoring traffic but also in and out of the schools themselves.”

Another traffic concern, Armstrong said, is the Red Carpet Bowl, which is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 22. More than two-dozen officers will be assigned to the annual football game, Armstrong said.

“It can be a traffic nightmare,” Armstrong said.