"You see the houses right here," Dean Wilson said, as he looked across Biloxi's back bay. The area on the north side of the bay was where a Biloxi citizens' committee determined a new north sound road should cross the water. That was more than two years ago.
Wilson served on that committee. "It's very disheartening that they have said that they don't want to build, that it isn't a high priority," Wilson said, referring to MDOT's lack of action on the road project. "I think it should be."
Mayor A.J. Holloway was also a bit miffed that a road in his city wasn't a priority. "It may not be in the eyes of MDOT," the Biloxi mayor said, "but it certainly is in the eyes of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I believe."
Holloway said Wednesday's drawbridge mishap in Gulfport reinforced his city's need for a new north south road. "I don't know what the city of Biloxi can do," he said, "because the road is too big for the city of Biloxi and Harrison County to build. We're going to have to have federal help. MDOT is going to have to get on the stick with us on that."
MDOT commissioner Wayne Brown claims a Biloxi connector that cuts through parts of Hiller Park and Keesler Air Force Base will cost $250 million. And right now, he says there's no funding source available to pay for that sort of project. So the mayor keeps telling Mississippi's congressional delegation it needs to help move traffic in and out of the city.
That could mean helping Biloxi widen Popps Ferry Road. "Hopefully if we don't get a north south connector," the mayor said, "we'll get at least that. We ought to get some crumbs."
Sidney Langson lives right next to the path of the proposed north south road. As he weeded his garden, he joked about when he figured the road would finally inconvenience his neighborhood. "We'll be on Mars by then," he laughed.
The area's other new north south access road is Canal Road in Gulfport. That project is part of the state' Vision 21 program. But actual roadwork is still several years away.