Gulfport man worried road widening will bring more traffic troubles

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Ellis Bond has lived on Three Rivers Road since 1961.  Over the years, he has seen his share of car crashes right in front of his house.

"I've seen a lot of wrecks and a lot of speeders up and down these roads out here," Bond said. "They're coming down that curve doing 60-70 mph."

About 10,000 cars travel Three Rivers every day.  On most days, traffic is bumper-to-bumper. So this week, the city of Gulfport is widening Three Rivers, turning it from a two-lane road to three lanes.

The project will be done in three phases.  First, the city will widen Three Rivers from Prudie Circle to the Windsong subdivision at Mays Road.  Next, the county will come in to widen Three Rivers from Mays to O'Neal Road.  And a private developer will pay for the final phase of the project from Prudie Circle to Dedeaux Road.

On Tuesday, the Gulfport City Council gave Clarence Chapman the green light to widen the road.  The expanded road would lead to his proposed Hollimon Place subdivision.

"So if we add a turning lane, it's not the magic cure that we all want," said Gulfport Councilman R. Lee Flowers. "But it's hopefully to relieve some of the stress that we see right now."

An extra lane will also give emergency vehicles more room to move.

"We have a fire station on Three Rivers Road south of the elementary school," he said. "During rush hour times, the fire trucks have a very difficult time moving south on that road.  We have pretty deep and steep ditches on that road and certain points prohibit people from moving to the shoulder."

However, Mr. Bond said widening the busy road will bring more traffic woes to his neighborhood.

"It's going to be worse because they don't patrol this road and take care of speeders out here," Bond said. "Everybody got to have progress. But really and truly, I think they should stop and the mayor should talk to the people and see what they think about it."

City leaders say no homes will be affected by the project, because it involves existing right of way.  However, some mailboxes will have to be relocated.

The city is paying for a third of the project, which averages about $230,000. The State Transportation Department is also helping out, by doing some of the paving work.

The first phase should take about three months to complete.  During that time, Three Rivers will be closed from Klein Road to O'Neal Road.

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