GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A busy South Mississippi road may finally get some improvements. Tuesday, Gulfport's city council will vote on a proposed plan to widen a stretch of Dedeaux Road. But some people say it's not the plan they were hoping for.
"Just look at the traffic," Diana McClure said. "It's really bad."
Diana McClure has lived in her Dedeaux Road home for more than a decade. She said the city's plans for expansion have, so far, been all talk and little action.
"The most that I know is that it's been up in the air for 17 years, as long as I've been here," McClure said.
Tuesday, the Gulfport council will vote on a measure to make Dedeaux a five lane road by widening the north side of the roadway. The plan will ease traffic, but it will also eliminate homes.
"I know the road needs to be widened, but I don't want my house taken either," McClure said.
McClure's home would go, along with about 30 others. One business may also be eliminated. That business belongs to Walter Thomas.
"Bring the pocketbook and bring it right," Thomas said.
Thomas is the only Dedeaux Road resident who may lose both his home and his business. He's lived in his home for more than 30 years, and he's owned the "Little Kitchen" for more than a decade. While Thomas agrees the road should be widened, he doesn't like the plan or the method.
"They decided to pick the most intrusive plan," Thomas said. "It's all about commercial growth, not residential."
Thomas said he doesn't know of anyone who wants to be bought out of his or her home, but ward six Councilman R. Lee Flowers said he does.
"As far as I'm aware, a majority of the people we have talked with in the public forum through now are wanting us to take their property if they live on Dedeaux Road," Flowers said.
Ward seven Councilwoman Cara Pucheu agrees.
"I've gotten nothing but positive feedback about the widening of Dedeaux Road," Pucheu said. "Dedeaux Road has become a hazard over the years. This will clear up safety issues, especially for school buses, and it will be an improvement for the quality of life. Plus, people will get top dollar for their homes and relocation expenses."
Homes that may be impacted by the plans are on the following streets:
- Faust Drive: Direct access to Dedeaux Road will be blocked off and rerouted from Wingate Drive
- DeDe Drive: will be blocked off at the Dedeaux Utility Building and rerouted to an area west and just south of Wingate Drive
- The road between the Pepsi Plant and Frito Lay will be opened up to make an entrance from Dedeaux Road to Golden Park (which is a city park).
- There will be a stop light just a few feet west of Stewart Drive and south of the new road going to Golden Park.
- Stewart Road, south, is the future road to I-10.
- There will be a stop light at Sharp Blvd/Wildwood Drive.
- There will be a new street built coming off Dedeaux Road going south of Latimer Road into Loren "D" Heights.
- Jackson Street will be blocked from Dedeaux Road. Traffic will have to travel to Knox Street to the new Latimer Road South (not named yet) or Franklin Avenue.
- There will be a stop light at Latimer Road, which will be the future road going to the north to O'Neal Road.
- Pine Hills Road will be re-configured to the east and there will be a light at Pine Hills Drive and Fairfield Drive.
Like Pucheu, Flowers is optimistic about the plans and said he wants residents to know that the city's top priority is safety.
"We're all impacted by it. We know that it needs to be done whether it's the southside of the road, the north side of the road or right down the middle. We're still working on that," Flowers said. "We're still listening to the comments of the people."
Councilman Flowers said the plans are not final and after an environmental study, the city will host another public hearing.
In the meantime, people who live on Dedeaux Road are planning a community meeting. For more information, call (228) 861-2707.