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Orange cones will be part of I-10 drive for 2 years

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Traffic in the west bound lane of Interstate 10 near exit 57 slows to a near standstill after an accident caused an semi-truck to overturn into the median and lose its cargo of barrels of ether. The stretch of road between exits 50 and 57, which frequently back up because of heavy traffic and accidents, is being widened to six lanes by MDOT.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Traffic in the west bound lane of Interstate 10 near exit 57 slows to a near standstill after an accident caused an semi-truck to overturn into the median and lose its cargo of barrels of ether. The stretch of road between exits 50 and 57, which frequently back up because of heavy traffic and accidents, is being widened to six lanes by MDOT. SUN HERALD

The next two years will be a challenge for drivers and construction workers as Interstate 10 is widened from four lanes to six between Ocean Springs Exit 50 and Vancleave Exit 57.

Lane closures will be limited to 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The heavily traveled stretch of road frequently backs up on Friday nights and other times when traffic is heavy or when there's an accident.

Mallette Brothers Construction of Gautier was awarded the $40 million contract that includes widening six bridges.

The road widening and bridge work are scheduled to be complete by May 2018, and at the same time, the I-10 Intelligent Transportation System will be installed along I-10 in Jackson County.

The $10 million ITS project, which continues through December 2017, will consist of more than 100 video traffic cameras, 50 vehicle-detection sensors and 10 overhead electronic message boards, according to MDOT.

The message boards will provide drivers with safety information such as accident reports along I-10 and in surrounding areas.

Crews have begun installing fiber-optic cable along the road, which now has a 60-mph speed limit.

Law enforcement officers have begun handing out speeding tickets to drivers who don't slow down.

"I get complaints from contractors quite often about speeding in the area," said Gabe Faggard, MDOT area engineer.

The speed-limit signs are posted randomly along the 7-mile stretch, but Faggard said when drivers see the 60-mph sign, the speed remains 60 mph until another sign is posted.

A Jackson County circuit judge determines the amount of the fine in a construction area.

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