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McDonald’s complains about frontage road barricade

By Randy Bell

This map highlights the frontage road area in front of McDonald’s, where access from the Springridge Road intersection is now closed. The McDonald’s entrance and exit on the frontage road are still accessible, but they must be reached via a left-hand turn from the road between McDonald’s and Taco Bell. McDonald’s says the change is hurting their business.

This map highlights the frontage road area in front of McDonald’s, where access from the Springridge Road intersection is now closed. The McDonald’s entrance and exit on the frontage road are still accessible, but they must be reached via a left-hand turn from the road between McDonald’s and Taco Bell. McDonald’s says the change is hurting their business.

Two months after the City of Clinton blocked off the entrance to a frontage road for safety reasons, a business is claiming it’s losing customers because of the barricade. In a letter to Mayor Phil Fisher, an executive assistant for the O’Ferrall Management Group in Madison said the decision to block the road was reached “unilaterally,” with no input from McDonald’s and two other affected businesses, Taco Bell and Starbucks, located near the I-20/Springridge Road interchange.

“While this measure was implemented as a test to improve traffic flow, it has inadvertently resulted in a decline in sales,” said Dominick Amen-Ra. O’Ferrall manages several McDonald’s franchises in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

“Even though customers can still access the restaurant from the rear, residents, who were accustomed to the previous traffic arrangement, might opt not to patronize the establishment due to the inconvenience caused by the alteration,” Amen-Ra said. “McDonald’s operates with narrow profit margins, particularly given the challenging labor market and the overall rise in business expenses,” the letter continued.

Fisher announced in mid-December that, in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), he was closing the entrance to the frontage road, because of his concern that traffic congestion on the western side of the Springridge Road-Broadway Street intersection had become too dangerous. He said drivers trying to reach the road in front of McDonald’s often had to dart in the path of eastbound cars leaving the shopping center parking lot.

The mayor’s original plan was to keep the barricade in place for a few weeks before deciding whether to make it permanent. That decision apparently has been made.

“Basically, it’s MDOT’s road,” Fisher said following the Board of Aldermen’s February 6 meeting. “They said if I wanted to close it for safety reasons, that they’d be okay with that. They’re very happy that we’re moving on this.”

The mayor said MDOT’S records indicate that eighteen traffic accidents have occurred that were directly related to the frontage road and the confusion among drivers as to who has the right of way at the intersection. It wasn’t clear as to when those accidents occurred, or if any of the accidents had occured recently, but MDOT says the frontage road was constructed in 1993.

McDonald’s sent a letter to Mayor Phil Fisher to complain about the mayor’s “unilateral” closing of the road in front of their establishment.

McDonald’s sent a letter to Mayor Phil Fisher to complain about the mayor’s “unilateral” closing of the road in front of their establishment.

Fisher said MDOT is working on a curb design to permanently close the entrance where a construction zone-type barricade is now in place.

One of Clinton’s aldermen is questioning the decision to block the frontage road.

Ward 2’s Jim Martin said it’s his understanding that the road leading to Taco Bell and Starbucks was built to provide access to those previously “land-locked” parcels of property.

“If you shut [the entrance] down, and they don’t have legal access, that could raise a problem in the future,” says Martin.

Martin said he realizes customers can take an alternate route through the shopping center parking lot to reach all three businesses, but he remains concerned.

“The question is whether we really do have the right to block that off,” says Martin.

And he’s not convinced the “quirky” intersection is particularly dangerous.

“I’ve never seen an accident there,” Martin said. “It is kind of confusing at times,” he admits, “but I haven’t seen it as a safety hazard.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Mayor Phil Fisher, the number of crashes (eighteen) is an MDOT figure, and he does not know the time frame during which those accidents occurred. When we asked the employee at MDOT who provided that figure to the Mayor for clarification on the time frame, the employee said she could not discuss it and referred us to MDOT’s public affairs division. The public affairs division explained that the accident information MDOT has for that location is unofficial, referring us to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for more information. DPS referred us to the Clinton Police Department, who, at press time, has not responded with any additional clarification.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Sims on February 29, 2024 at 4:41 pm

    The blocking of that road has made it more dangerous. People flying through the parking lot from Planet Fitness, those coming from the red light, those coming from Kroger Gas and those coming back through the parking lot from Taco Bell, etc make a bigger traffic hazard. There are no stop signs or any traffic directions. It’s a nightmare.

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