JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A congested highway in Jackson County that has caused countless traffic woes and accidents is getting a facelift. County supervisors opened bids Monday for the Highway 57 extension project. The road is located near Ocean Springs High School.
"It stacks up in the mornings and the evenings, and it is not school time. Of course, when school starts, it kind of compounds," Ocean Springs resident Brooks McKay said.
Principal David Baggett agrees the road does get very crowded. And on top of that, there aren't any sidewalks.
"Obviously, when you are bringing 1,700 children in, plus 200 staff members, in addition to the normal population we have in this part of the town, it is going to cause headaches," Baggett said about the traffic.
Jackson County supervisors said they have a three phase, $2.3 million plan to finally ease congestion headaches. Work has already begun on the first two phases.
"One was to move the water and sewer and utility lines, which was the first phase," said Supervisor John McKay. "The second phase was putting turn bays in the school on Old Spanish Trail."
The Highway 57 extension is the final phase.
"We are widening that section of the road, putting a traffic light right there by the intersection of the school, and sidewalks," said Supervisor McKay.
Crossing arms will also be added at the railroad that crosses the highway. McKay is eager to see the arms put here to reduce the danger of those traveling on the road.
"I have been working on that railroad crossing now for about 14 years. It all started back about that time when a young high school student from Ocean Springs was killed at that crossing."
The entire facelift is expected to take at least six to eight months to finish.
"No one likes to see thick traffic, myself included. However, everyone just has to be patient while we are going through these times of construction and understand in the long run it is going to be better and safer for everyone," Baggett said.
McKay said the board expects to pick a contractor for the third phase of the project next month. The project is being paid for with local, state and federal funds.