By Alyssa Schnugg
The Oxford Board of Aldermen will be sending a formal letter to the Mississippi Department of Transportation requesting MDOT take action on making an intersection on Highway 6 safer.
A petition calling for changes on Highway 6 East near the F.D. “Buddy” East Parkway intersection with more than 6,000 signatures was presented to the Board recently by Oxford resident Carrie Long.
Long started the petition after a wreck occurred at the intersection on March 4, resulting in the deaths of Matt Ellington and his two young children.
Alderman Janice Antonow asked to put the matter on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular Board of Aldermen meeting.
“A lot of people who signed (the petition) have been concerned by that intersection for a while,” Antonow said. “I think we have an obligation to put a little pressure on MDOT to see if these, or other changes need to be made to make that intersection safer.”
The city of Oxford is responsible for the maintenance of the traffic signal as a result of annexation in 2018; however, city staff must coordinate and receive approval for any changes that affect the traffic on Highway 6 with MDOT
“They can make the changes or give us permission to make them,” said Oxford Chief Operating Officer Bart Robinson.
Robinson said city staff members have been in contact with MDOT but suggested the Board could choose to send a formal letter.
Antonow made the motion to send a letter to MDOT. The motioned was passed unanimously.
“Some of these suggestions can be done quickly if they give us permission to make them,” she said.
The suggestions on the petition include:
- Turn off the yield function on the turn lane lights at Highway 6 and F.D. Buddy East Parkway.
- Red (stop) turn signal when oncoming traffic has a green light.
- Green turn signal when oncoming traffic has a red light.
- Extend the 55 mph zone to at least 0.5 miles to the east of the Parkway intersection. The speed limit currently increases to 65 mph west of the F.D. Buddy East Parkway.
- Initiate a 45 mph zone with signs and flashing lights from at least 0.25 miles west of the Highway 6/Highway 334 exits to at least 0.25 miles east of the Highway 6/F.D. Buddy East Parkway intersection during Lafayette School drop off and pick up hours on school days.
- Add rumble strips on Highway 6 approaching the F.D. Buddy East Parkway intersection.
None of the changes suggested in the petition would require structural or design changes to the intersection.