Study shows increased traffic on North Washington Street

Published 11:13 am Friday, December 30, 2022

Traffic along North Washington Street from First East Street to Spouts Spring Road has increased significantly since the last study was performed, according to a new traffic count.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen in November hired Neel-Schaffer engineers to perform traffic studies at three separate locations along North Washington Street: south of the Port of Vicksburg at Haining Road, south of Sherman Avenue and at or near Spouts Spring Road to help city officials determine current patterns of vehicles and trucks along that portion of the city’s designated truck route.

Another traffic study has been ordered for North Frontage Road in front of Corner Market; South Frontage Road at Home Depot; Pemberton Square Boulevard in the vicinity of Kroger; and Washington Street at the intersection of Clay Street. That study has not been completed.

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The Washington Street study is part of the preparations for improvements to North Washington Street that involves making North Washington a two-lane street with a bicycle/pedestrian lane on the east side of the road with guardrails extending from the Klondyke to the National Cemetery.

The present speed limit on North Washington from First East to Haining Road is 45 mph and north of Haining to U.S. 61 is 35 mph.

According to the agreement with Neel-Schaffer, the study is expected to help city officials determine current patterns of vehicles and trucks along that portion of its designated truck route. The traffic counts will provide the city with a summary report showing the average daily traffic, or ADT, the vehicle classification of ADT and the speed of the vehicles.

Ward 1 Alderman Michael Mayfield and Assistant Public Works Director Dane Lovell said they believe the last traffic count for the same stretch of road was done “10 to 15 years ago.”

“I was surprised when I saw the numbers,” Mayfield said.

According to the report, which measured north and southbound commercial and residential traffic:

• Traffic on North Washington going south from Haining Road at the Port of Vicksburg to First East Street was measured from Nov. 28-29 and averaged 2,874 vehicles, including 173 trucks. The average speed of traffic was 37 mph; the fastest speed was 67 mph. The previous traffic count showed an average daily count of 2,759 vehicles.

• Traffic going south on Sherman Avenue to Haining Road was measured from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23 and indicated an average of 8,382 vehicles daily, including 1,272 trucks. The average speed was 37 mph for cars and 40 mph for trucks. The fastest speed was 78 mph. The previous traffic count showed an average of 2,052 cars per day.

• Traffic on Spouts Spring Road was measured from Nov. 23 to Nov. 28 and showed a daily average of 8,050 total vehicles per day, including 495 trucks. The average speed was 35 mph for cars and 40 mph for trucks. The fastest speed was 104 mph. The previous traffic count showed 1,610 vehicles per day.

“That’s probably as close as you can get to being accurate,” Mayfield said. “That’s why I was surprised because I personally didn’t think it was that much. That shows you traffic is moving and increasing.”

Presently, Washington Street from Haining Road to Jackson Avenue is a narrow, four-lane north-south road with a 45 mph speed limit. The street is bounded on the west by the Yazoo Diversion Canal and on the East by a ridge. During heavy rains, loose dirt and mud break loose, causing slides that spill into the northbound lanes blocking them.

The southbound lanes were torn up and later resurfaced during the construction of the city’s auxiliary waterline, which intersects with the mainline near Jackson Street.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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