ST. MARTIN -- Jackson County is dealing with another obstacle in the project to straighten out a sharp curve leading to Yellow Jacket Road that has been causing accidents for years along the route to St. Martin High School.
The latest snag is federal requirements that the loss of wetlands along a small stream bed on the route be mitigated by investing in wetlands elsewhere.
While supervisors complained about the cost of unfunded federal regulations, county Road Manager Joe O'Neal said one way to save money would be to satisfy mitigation requirements by going through the Mississippi Department of Transportation. That would cost the county $35,000 rather than purchasing points through a private non-profit at a cost of $100,000.
The overall project is estimated to cost $2.5 million and will take out the curve as Old Fort Bayou Road turns north near where it intersects with Yellow Jacket Road.
"We've been working on this since the 1980s," said Board of Supervisors President Troy Ross. "It's a safety issue."
O'Neal said the sharp curve in Old Fort Bayou, followed abruptly by the intersection with Yellow Jacket, is a set-up for trouble.
He said there have been many accidents in the areas over the years. The heavily traveled route carries school buses as well as traffic from students and parents. Adding to that is the residential traffic from subdivisions and neighborhoods in the area.
O'Neal said the project will bring Old Fort Bayou straight into Yellow Jacket, eliminating the curve. Then the county will install a traffic light where the main road intersects with another residential streets.
O'Neal said that if all goes well with the mitigation, he expects the county to go out for bids next years.