GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The most wonderful time of the year has become the most congested time of the year on Highway 49. It's not just due to holiday shoppers. Traffic has slowed down near Airport Road up to Creosote Road because of work underway to put in a raised median and remove center turn lanes.
Businesses owners say the work has completely blocked access to their business. Hotel owner Michael Shuler points to the problem drivers have getting into his new Holiday Inn off Highway 49 near Prime Outlets.
"If you're going northbound, you won't be able to make a u-turn to go back south. You have to go west on Creosote and normally the traffic's backed up," Shular said.
Shular said he isn't trying to undermine the case made for a safer 49 through a study done by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission. But he said more discussion is needed among all parties involved.
"Safety is very important, and I think the study was important, but I think it's just sad that the property owners were left out," Shular said.
After hearing from owners, the council decided to arrange a workshop to address concerns from business owners.
"We're looking at contacting MDOT to have them come down and give us some options of seeing if we can come up with any alternatives other than just blocking off the lanes of traffic to most of these businesses," Ward 5 Councilman Ricky Dombrowski said.
The chief administrative officer for the city, John Kelly, said he plans to talk to MDOT about arranging that meeting with all sides involved.