In an effort to curb the number of accidents occuring on a six-mile section of Highway 78 currently under construction in New Albany, the Mississippi Department of Transportation has closed one entrance ramp to the highway.
MDOT officials announced Monday that the northwest entrance ramp from Carter Avenue onto Highway 78 will be closed until March 2013.
This section of the highway is currently under reconstruction from Highway 30 West to Highway 15. Hill Brothers Construction Company, Inc., the contractor for the project, has been hired by MDOT to begin repairing the bridges within this six-mile section to bring them up to interstate standards.
The northwest entrance ramp closing was highly recommended by New Albany Police Department officials, who said that, due to the construction, the line-of-sight for drivers entering highway from this location is nearly zero.
The closing comes just three days after a severe accident occurred in which a minivan carrying seven people collided with a dump truck that turned onto the highway median just east of the Highway 15 exit.
Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said the family in the van, including a woman and six children, were sent to local hospitals to be treated for their wounds.
Two of the children were airlifted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. with severe injuries.
Two other severe accidents, including one in which a Missouri woman was killed, have also occurred within the six-mile stretch of highway.
The Highway Patrol and New Albany police both patrol the area.
Police officials recommended motorists avoid using the downtown entrances and exits to Highway 78 all together.