Drivers frustrated over delays in Popp's Ferry widening

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - If you've been wondering when the widening work will start on Popp's Ferry Road, north of Cedar Lake, you're not going to like what you're about to read. WLOX News has learned that the project is at a standstill and drivers will have to wait a while longer to see any construction there.

You can see and feel a dramatic difference as you drive along Popp's Ferry Road, north of Cedar Lake. On the D'Iberville side, it's a smooth trip on a newly-paved road. But once you enter the Biloxi city limits, it can be a bumpy ride.

"It's bad. There's potholes and everything. It already messed my truck up," said Tiffany Merkison of Biloxi. "It's good [in D'Iberville]. I don't know why they ain't doing Biloxi. It just sucks."

"You can't help but wonder why when you run from one pavement to another, patch work is done on one side and not the other," said Mark Battise of Biloxi.

D'Iberville's portion of Popp's Ferry only needed to be resurfaced. Biloxi's project is more extensive.

"It's going to be a five-lane road. It's going to have two lanes on each side with a turning lane in the middle and it's going to have ADA accessible sidewalks," said Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel.

Creel said earlier this year, crews started clearing property on Popp's Ferry. Then the project came to a screeching halt.

"It's probably going to be about a year before you see more construction take place out there," said Creel. "Right now, we're waiting on the utility companies to relocate their utilities out of the construction zone. They're telling us that might not be until the first of the year or the first quarter of the year."

Creel said most of the funding for the project is coming from the state. Until those underground utilities are moved, the state won't approve the construction plans. And once the widening work starts, it could take at least another year for the project to be completed.

"I think a lot of people who drive that area are frustrated over this, because they see what we've done on the rest of Popp's Ferry and they see what D'Iberville's done right over there and they want to see progress, and we agree," said Creel. "This is long-awaited, much overdue, but we are where we are."

Drivers like Tiffany Merkison are ready to see the project move forward.

"I hope that they finish it soon, so it'll stop tearing up people's vehicles," she said.

Creel said the project will cost about $8 million. The city has already spent $670,000 in CDBG money on the clearing work and drainage improvements.

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