Gulfport council wants port connector pushed west

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The proposed port connector road in Gulfport has sparked a lot of debate over the past few months.

On Wednesday, the Gulfport City Council will consider a resolution that deals specifically with the south end of the new road.  The council's resolution will tell MDOT to build the port connector road along 30th Avenue, so it doesn't divide the downtown business district. The resolution also urges engineers to keep the new road at ground level.

In the past, MDOT has proposed building the south end of the port connector along 28th Avenue.  And engineers favor an elevated roadway.

Members of the Steps Coalition are urging those who will be directly impacted by this project to let their voices be heard.

Since it's initial presentation, there have been many changes made to the new port connector road project. Nonetheless, for people like Roberta Avila and Howard Page of the Steps Coalition, there are still many more changes that need to be made.

"There's definitely still more that needs to be done and I think that the community is coming together now to reach an agreement on what it is exactly that they want," Avila said.

The city has already voiced it's concerns with an elevated roadway concept designed by MDOT engineers.

Steps Coalition members say that's only scratching the surface.  "These effects are going to be permanent. There's going to be a loss of wetlands, which raises concerns about flooding. There's going to be air pollution, noise pollution, traffic congestion by moving all this heavy truck traffic into residential neighborhoods," Page said.

There's also a concern that the area of north Gulfport in question has had to bare the brunt of development in the city.

That's why the coalition wants residents to rise up and say not again.

Gulfport councilman Kenneth 'Truck' Casey also wants to hear from those residents.  Casey represents the ward where the south end of the port connector will be built.

"I would like for more people to show up this Wednesday at the city council meeting so they can be more informed about the connector road and what's going on here in the city of Gulfport. Instead of getting here say (they should) show up themselves. Numbers mean a lot," Casey said.

The Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:30.

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