Pascagoula applies for MDA Grant hoping to relieve traffic headaches

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - If you ever travel Industrial Road in Pascagoula during peak hours, you know you'll probably have to sit a while at the intersection with Hwy 90.

"It's pretty bad," said Maria Alvarez who commutes every day. "Especially in the morning times and the afternoons, too."

Alvarez lives five minutes away from her job at Chevron's Pascagoula Refinery. She said it takes her up to thirty minutes to get to and from work during rush hours. She doesn't just blame it on the intersection; she blames the frequent trains that traverse it.

"That train just keeps everybody upset every day because it stops in the morning and the afternoon, once or twice a day," Alvarez said.

After more than ten years of planning, improvements may finally be on the way. Jackson County just applied for a $35 million grant from Mississippi Development Authority that could help fund a long-awaited flyover, on the Highway 90 border between Moss Point and Pascagoula.

MDOT District 6 Engineer Steve Twebt said MDOT is ready to start working, as soon as the funding is in place. Jackson County Administrator Alan Sudduth said he believes this time, the push to build the flyover will be a success.

"We're fortunate enough to receive an application for $35 million grant with MDA, for the construction of this project," he said. "We're optimistic that we'll get this money, and if we get the 35 million, that will give us enough money to be able to do this project."

It's something Sudduth said the area desperately needs.

"This project was critical back in the late 90's when they first started working on it," Sudduth said. "It's even more critical now with the additional industry we have here down south of industrial road, and with the future expansions."

It's not just industrial workers that could benefit. Right now, the 14th Street overpass is the only bridge over Hwy 90 and the train tracks in the entire city of Pascagoula. In case of a train derailment, that overpass is the only way out of parts of the city. The new flyover, while technically just outside the Pascagoula city limits, would provide a second route out of the city.

Plans are still being finalized. When asked to indicate the project's likelihood on a scale from 1-10, Sudduth's reply was very positive.

"I would say about 9 and a half," he said. "I really feel confident now with the addition of this grant money. I really feel confident we'll get this grant money, and combine this grant money with the work that MDOT has done. I feel very comfortable that we'll get this project done."

Many Jackson County commuters are eagerly awaiting the build.

"It'll really help us," said Alvarez.

The price tag for the project is estimated to be $600 million.

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