Relief is on the way for busy Saltillo interchange

SALTILLO – Crossing over U.S. Highway 45 via Euclatubba Road will become easier – and safer – in about 18 months.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is in the early stages of transforming the busy interchange, which will have a bridge and exit lanes off Highway 45.
The bridge will carry Euclatubba Road traffic over Highway 45, eliminating what has been a deadly intersection.
“I hope it’s going to make a big difference,” said Saltillo Police Chief Steve Brooks. “I’ve been here seven years and there’s no telling how many crashes, some of them deadly, have happened there. It’s been a long time coming.”
The $7 million project is scheduled to be finished by March 2011, said MDOT District 1 Engineer Bill Jamieson.
“There’s going to be an overpass, a Natchez Trace-type bridge with lanes on either side of 45,” he said. “Those lanes will allow drivers to loop on or loop off Euclatubba Road.”
The intersection is near Saltillo Primary and Saltillo High schools.
Traffic coming south on 45 approaches the intersection on a long straightaway, allowing motorists to pick up speed.
Making matters worse is that vehicles traveling north on 45 often speed up as they pass Saltillo Primary and the highway dips slightly as it approaches the Euclatubba Road intersection.
While caution lights have been added and the speed limit has been reduced, the intersection can get congested with school and work traffic.
“It’s going to be a big help to us when the project is finished, Brooks said.
“This is going to improve the safety for all citizens, including Saltillo, because it’s been such a dangerous intersection,” said Mayor Bill Williams.
And the intersection improvements won’t cost the city a dime, he added.
While the city had to move water and sewer lines to accommodate the project, MDOT reimbursed the city for the work.
“It’s a win-win situation for us,” Williams said.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal