Seaway Road in Gulfport to become 5 lanes

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Meggan Gray – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - John Dane owns two businesses on Seaway Road, so he knows first hand how frustrating traffic can be.

"If you came on this road anytime between four o'clock and maybe 5:30 in the afternoon, you could spend anywhere from half an hour to 40 minutes just waiting to get through the light," Dane said.

Dane hosted a meeting Thursday at his restaurant, The Dock, so all Seaway business owners could learn more about plans to widen the road. Jay Jenkins works for Northrop Grumman.

"We have approximately 700 people that work at Northrop Grumman. And getting out and getting in in the morning is very important to our folks, so this is a big deal for us," Jenkins said.

But one concern that kept coming up, was the added traffic and back-ups that come with any road project.

"We saw the frustration from redoing Highway 49. That roadwork that hurt the businesses along that area," Dane said. "We're the only real public type of place as opposed to manufacturing or industrial, so it's going to impact us more than anybody else."

Others voiced concerns about the new median that will divide the turning bays, whether it would limit access to their business or even prevent large trucks from turning.

"We have a lot of big trucks coming in and out of our facility, and up and down the Seaway, so if they've taken care of that, I think that's a major improvement for us all," Jenkins said.

Executive Director of Harrison County Development Commission Larry Barnett said, "I think this road is for our existing industries here in the Industrial Park. We want them to be pleased with their experience having a business here in the Industrial Park, and we want to make it easy for their employees to get in and out and for them to do business."

Project leaders ask for patience during the construction process but assured businesses traffic will be much better in the end.

The first phase, will include the area from the Dock, east to Cowan-Lorraine. The project is expected to take 10 months, and should be finished next summer.

Project managers say they will hold meetings on the first and third Monday of every month to update business owners on the progress.

Harrison County Development Commission Deputy Director Bill Hessell said Gulfport awarded the bid for phase one to contractor Jay Knowles this week. Hessell said phase one will go from Cowan-Lorraine Road to the Dock. Work on that phase will begin at the end of September and should go about 300 days.

During that time, Gulfport will take bids for phase two which will go from the Dock to Three Rivers Road. The whole project is estimated to cost $8.2 million dollars and take about a year and a half to complete.

The first phase is being funded by the Mississippi Development Authority, and MDOT money is paying for the second phase.

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