Pascagoula thoroughfare set to benefit from stimulus

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula could carry some federal stimulus dollars with it as the city rolls into the new year. The city council is expected to award a contract for a stimulus project on Old Mobile Highway Tuesday.

For motorists on Old Mobile Highway, sharing the road is a common occurrence, as pedestrians and cyclists. Melissa Wiggins can see the congestion from her job at Chicot Plaza every day, and said it's time for an upgrade to the thoroughfare.

"They're either in and out of the road or in the grass, and it's really inconvenient for them. I'm sure," Wiggins said. "There's a definite need for it to be improved. Especially with this area opening up and a lot of the business going on around here."

That improvement could be on the way, thanks to federal stimulus dollars awarded to Pascagoula through MDOT.

City Program Manager Jaci Turner said $1 Million have been allotted for the project, which is expected to cost $800,000. The funds will cover roadway improvements from 14th Street to Chicot Road. Utility work is underway in advance on the construction.

"The bridge right here at Hospital Road is going to be replaced," Turner explained.  "And then also from one end to the other, any where there's discontinuous sidewalks or where there's not crosswalks, those are going to be installed and upgraded. So that means curb sections that were damaged or where there used to be a driveway that's not needed anymore, that will be constructed with continuous sidewalk now."

Turner said if not for the stimulus dollars, the city might have to foot the bill for the project three or four years down the road.

She and Wiggins said they're happy to see the federal funds finally at work in Pascagoula, when they're needed the most.

"We're going to be able to keep people employed in the construction business here," Turner said. "It brings in almost a $1 Million of construction dollars to the city that we wouldn't be able to fund right now."

"I think it will help improve business and the economy," said Wiggins. "More jobs will be available, more people will be getting money to spend, and I think the economy in Pascagoula will rise."

Construction must begin by March 1 and is expected to take several months to complete.  Turner said each business on Old Mobile Highway will have access to the road through the duration of the project.

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