MDOT takes 2nd look at possible traffic light in Gulfport

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - MDOT is taking a second look at whether changes are needed to improve safety at Cowan and East Taylor Roads. Officials said a recent study found a traffic light isn't necessary but MDOT decided to revisit the issue at the request of the Gulfport city council as well as some residents and developers. This is not the first time South Mississippians have lobbied for a traffic signal.

The intersection where Highway 49 meets Bethel Road in Saucier now has a traffic light. However, some people remember what driving was like before the light was here.

"It was difficult because the traffic would go very fast coming north and south on 49," said Yoette Wesley, a driver. "I lived up here wherever they had several wrecks at that intersection and one of them was a teacher from this school years ago. So it was really bad."

Tired of seeing bad wrecks, in 2007 some residents began calling on MDOT to install a traffic light They even staged rallies and went up to Jackson to push the issue. Their main drive was a fear for the safety of the children at nearby Saucier Elementary.

Cynthia Chadwick who is a local business owner was took part.

"How dangerous it is for a bus load of children that can carry over 100 kids at one time coming out of there and nobody stops," said Chadwick.

A stop light went up 2009. As Saucier Elementary let out parents and grandparents talked about how picking up and dropping off children is less worrisome.

Susan Northrop said, "It's made a lot of difference because people are more aware of it and there's not as many wrecks and accidents. And there's not really no running the light."

"People actually take a minute to pause instead of trying to get in a hurry and run across,"said Judy Bordeaux. "

Although it took years of lobbying, residents say saving lives makes it worth it.

"If you see something that you want speak up especially for children's safety or for something you feel is right. Don't just stop. Say it. Speak it," said Chadwick. "Put something out there. Protest for it but do it in a nice way and we did it in a very nice way."

As for the intersection of Cowan Road and East Taylor Road, MDOT officials said if it determined to be a safety issue they'll look at possible remedies which may be a light or some other resolution.

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