Fulton board tackles South Adams traffic

Although nothing is set in stone, Fulton aldermen are currently looking for ways to alleviate heavy traffic congestion on South Adams Street.

During their last board meeting, Mayor Paul Walker proposed board members start seriously considering methods of increasing traffic flow down the city’s primary thoroughfare.

“This is probably something we need to go ahead and start thinking about for the future,” Walker said. “We need to find a way to help provide safer and more freeing traffic flow down South Adams Street, whether it be the adding of street signs, stop lights, extra lanes or whatever. I just think it’s imperative that we maybe look at this and then come back in January and decide what we need to do.”

The worst area, Walker said, was in the northernmost area of the roadway, near its intersections with Main Street and South Clifton Street, which has heavy traffic flowing both to and from the Itawamba Community College campus and courtsquare.

“Once you get past [Smith’s Furniture], traffic really tightens up,” Walker said. “Once it drops back into two lanes, it really is a mess,” Walker said.

Fulton Police Chief Ray Barrett agreed that traffic can get particularly heavy around the aforementioned area, particularly during school hours.

“It would help a lot if the lights could stay green a little longer,” Barrett said. “The problem is in the mornings and evenings when the kids are coming in and getting out of school. Once these kids get out of school, you don’t really have a major problem. You have all that traffic coming on and off the four-lane.”

Generally, the board was in agreement with Walker, something would eventually have to be done. Alderman Mike Nanney called traffic in the area “a mess,” and Kevin Nolan supported the idea of investigating various options. Walker suggested board members analyze the situation and possibly get quotes on different solutions to the problem of traffic congestion in the area.

“At some point in time it’s going to have to be handled. I thought maybe we could start kicking it around a little bit,” he said. “This is all open to any solutions; anything that will solve the problem.”

This isn’t the first time the issue has been discussed or tackled outright. The Fulton board has been battling heavy traffic flow for years, particularly in the Walmart and Itawamba Indian Complex areas. The problem was aided somewhat in December of 2006 with the placement of a traffic light at the intersection of Highway 25 and Pierce Town Road, near Walmart. Later, traffic flow was improved via the addition of an extra lane near the school complex.

Still, in a way, the board views these as bandaids atop a large wound. During school hours, the sheer volume of traffic is simply too much for the area, causing long lines of cars to accumulate and accidents to occur. According to Walker, with the steady growth of Itawamba Community College as well as the town itself, the board needs to start considering a solution sooner rather than later.

“At times it’s a nightmare out there without kids even being here,” he said. “As much traffic as we’re getting, it’s not going to get any better; it’s only going to get heavier and heavier and heavier.”

He suggested aldermen begin studying traffic flow in the area and searching for solutions as soon as possible in order to proceed with a search for grants and other funding options due to the sluggishness of the funding process. Walker cited both the city’s long-in-the-tooth sewer and walking track projects, both of which commenced years ago, as examples of the time needed to finish major endeavors.

“Basically, if you start looking at the project for 2013, you’ll finally have funding by about 2016,” Walker quipped.

Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing adam.armour@itawamba360.com or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.

Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times