Digital Signs Popping Up Along Goodman Road

Southaven, MS

By: Steve Dodd

You may have noticed what looks like digital signs being installed along Goodman Road. What are these and who is installing them? They are indeed digital signs and are being installed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The signage is part of a very advanced traffic management plan known as the “Intelligent Transportation System.” The digital signs will operate in much the same way as those on the Interstate system giving motorists advanced warning of accidents ahead, travel time to the next major intersection or important messages. Signs will be placed along Goodman Road from Olive Branch to Horn Lake between major intersections.

According to Mike Tagart, Northern District Transportation Commissioner, MDOT received a $9 million Federal grant to implement the Intelligent Transportation System but it goes way beyond the digital signs. Currently crews are busy laying fiber optic lines which will allow the current traffic signals to communicate with each other. There is also a system of sensors being installed at the major intersections which will identify the traffic flow.

By synchronizing traffic signals, it is hoped that traffic backups will be reduced by at least 20% if not greater. DeSoto County Supervisor Mark Gardner said,” This is part of a congestion mitigation program. If you catch a green light in Horn Lake, you will catch green lights all the way to Olive Branch.” Each major intersection will also have a series of sensors installed. In-road sensors will monitor traffic flow and if capacity lessens, it will be recognized and the East-West flow will be stopped allowing North-South traffic to move. Now before you think there will be long delays for the North-South traffic, that has also been taken into consideration. The signals will also have timers that will help with traffic flow in all directions.

New traffic cameras will also be installed at the major intersections to monitor traffic flow. Police and EMS will have access to the cameras so they can determine if alternative routes should be taken when responding to emergencies decreasing the response time. The cameras will also capture images of accidents that may occur at the intersections.

Tagart said the project is approximately 30% done with an estimated completion date of June, 2018. He also said there will be several weeks of adjusting the system to maximize the benefits. By improving the traffic flow, Tagart says it should save drivers time, money and fuel consumption. Gardner added, “We’re excited. As 269 is completed, the roads will get busier and this should help with the congestion.”

DeSoto County was chosen for the Intelligent Transportation System due to the fast growth and heavy traffic along the Goodman Road corridor. The only other two locations for a similar system are along I-10 and in the Jackson Metro area.

Be patient. Help for the Goodman Road congestion is on the way.