The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is installing an Intelligent Traffic System in Jackson County. The $10 million project got underway this week with crews laying fiber-optic cable along I-10.
The purpose of the system is to deliver a modern driving experience that uses smart boards and speed detectors to keep drivers informed along the route, monitoring changes in traffic flow, accidents to avoid, travel times and explanations for delays.
Traffic engineers say it's been 10 years coming, and for Jackson County, it's not a minute too soon, as the safety need is greater there, said Wes Dean, assistant chief engineer. The 30-mile segment of I-10 is a four-lane corridor prone to fog and smoke from national wildlife refuge burning and has frequent wrecks on the long Pascagoula River bridge.
The system will consist of 92 video traffic cameras, 40 advisory boards and sensors that detect vehicle motion and nine overhead electronic message boards, all connected by a fiber-optic cable. The data collected will be transmitted to an MDOT information hub in Lyman, north of Gulfport. That traffic management center will communicate directly with drivers, alerting them via the message boards or having them tune to a certain AM radio frequency for details.
The system in Jackson County is expected to be finished and functioning within 18 months, according to engineers.
When the boards are not warning about traffic accidents, they can inform drivers entering Jackson County from Biloxi of approximated travels time and potential detours due to accidents, incidents or construction. Morevoer, when the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge is conducting controlled burns, alerts will be real-time, flexible and accurate.