Bridge replacement causes temporary traffic bottleneck
If you are using Highway 19 south to enter or exit Philadelphia, you might add 10 minutes or so to your trip.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is in the process of replacing the bridge next to Bumpers. This has created a traffic bottleneck in that area.
If you are leaving Philadelphia in a non-commercial vehicle, the unofficial detour is to turn left onto St. Francis Drive, go up to the stop sign, turn right, and travel on Valley View Street past the Post Office onto Highway 19 south. It’s the reverse if you are coming into town.
The official MDOT detour sends vehicles through Union to House.
The bridge was closed at the end of May and it is hoped the new bridge will be in before the start of the Neshoba County Fair.
Traffic is prone to back up at any time because of stop signs but especially during the morning and evening commute hours.
Bennie Adkins watches it every day from his barber shop at the corner of Holland Avenue and St. Francis Drive.
“The stop sign stops the traffic,” Adkins said. “They don’t have anywhere to go.
“School isn’t going on. It’s not nearly as bad now as when there was school traffic. When it is quitting time, about 4 or 5 p.m., that’s when it is the worst. And when you get these 18 wheelers coming through, it gets slow,” Adkins said.
“A bunch of the 18 wheelers come through here. One flipped over in the ditch, trying to turn and another flipped over,” he said.
When headed north on Highway 19 from Meridian, there is a detour sign advising trucks and cars to turn on Road 492 at House, right before the end of the four-lane. That will lead you to Union where you can turn north and enter Philadelphia on Highway 16.
“You have to put up with the traffic but that goes along with progress,” said Adkins. “You know you have to do things, close roads and fix them. It hasn’t bothered my business. But when you leave, it might take you a few minutes to get back on the road.”
Mayor James Young asked for the public’s patience.
“We have extended the culvert to make the turn safer,” Young said. “We haven’t had any more incidents with trucks since we did that. But there isn’t much we can do about traffic.
“This makes you realize how much traffic comes in and out of the city in that area.”