PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - For nearly 40 years, people who live on a section of Martin Road in Pascagoula just south of Ingalls Avenue have endured street flooding every time a hard rain arrives.
That should soon change, however. On Monday, city officials began a project to bring relief to the area.
The sounds involving the work are loud, but offer welcome relief. Old, broken drainage pipes on Martin Road have seen their better days.
"The pipe has deteriorated over time. It's time to replace it. So what we've noticed over a period of time after flushing the pipe repeatedly that this intersection continues to flood so we made the decision to just go ahead and change the pipe out," said Pascagoula operations manager Steve Mitchell.
The new pipes will be much larger. According to city engineer Jaci Turner, this is only the beginning.
"The big project with the Corp of Engineers basically is the upper east and west prongs of Bayou Cassotte which is basically north of Highway 90 and east of Chicot so that's a good bit north of here," Turner said. "But all that water still has to come down through this area so we need to make sure that all the pipes down here have the right capacity and are clean and are maintained."
Even though this is just the beginning of a very long and expensive flooding improvement project for the city of Pascagoula, it couldn't have come at a better time for the people living along Martin Road.
Franz Hanning has called Martin Road home for 37 years.
"We need it very much. I'm glad to see it happen because we've been dealing with this for many, many years and it seems to be getting worse," Hanning said.
"It's pretty bad. I've got a full-size Chevrolet pick-up and when it rains I have trouble getting through. The water almost comes into my doors so I see vehicles that stall out here all the time or have to take detours just to get down this road," said Jason Harris, another resident living along Martin Road.
That road will be much easier to navigate when the next rainfall comes.
The Martin Road project should take about three weeks to complete at a cost of $60,000. Next year, the city has budgeted $2.5 million for drainage projects throughout Pascagoula.