By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD – The Mississippi Department of Transportation is proposing a “continuous flow intersection” (CFI) to enhance traffic movement at one of Oxford’s busiest intersections. MDOT officials unveiled the proposal Monday at the Oxford Conference Center to get public input.
The CFI would add double turn lanes onto Jackson Avenue from both eastbound and westbound traffic on State Highway 6/U.S. Highway 278, the main east-west highway into Oxford. Jackson Avenue’s rapid commercial growth has turned the intersection into a frequent bottleneck also that has been the site of numerous severe wrecks.
“The capacity of a CFI is similar to that of some grade-separated interchanges but takes less space, money and time,” noted an MDOT publication. District Engineer Mitch Turner said this design would entail “a small fraction” of the cost of the full grade-separated interchange that was envisioned for the site decades ago.
One CFI innovation is that the left turn onto Jackson from eastbound lanes would cross the westbound lanes some 550 feet west of the current intersection, sending vehicles down the north side of the highway to Jackson Avenue. The “continuous flow” concept means some direction of traffic always is moving and depends on well-coordinated traffic lights in multiple locations. Natchez and Baton Rouge are among Deep South towns that have implemented a CFI.
Lafayette County Planning Commission Chairman T.J. Ray, remains unconvinced of any new advantages.
“Nothing that I saw convinced me that the disruption and cost of this idea will save any more fenders or lives than serious rethinking of the current stoplight system might accomplish,” he said. “I’ve never understood why all traffic could not be brought to a standstill before any vehicle could move again. I’ve always suspected that a cop with an active radar gun could accomplish miracles very quickly.”
MDOT will host a public meeting today from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Oxford Conference Center for comment on the Old Taylor Road interchange with Highway 6/278.