HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Since most roads don't end at the city limits, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Metropolitan Planning Organization says neither should plans for improving traffic flow. Leaders from Jackson, Harrison, and Hancock counties met to get an update on transportation improvement projects. They said making it easier for drivers to get around the Coast will benefit all communities.
Three Rivers Road is one of several major Gulfport thoroughfares about to be widened. City leaders said that means getting more drivers where they want to go faster.
"We have a lot of delays at peak times in the day such as first thing in the morning when people are traveling to work and then also in the afternoon," said Kris Riemann, Gulfport City Engineer. "With having a wider road, you can get a lot more traffic through that area which will then decrease the time that people will have to wait when they're traveling."
At the annual meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, government leaders and stakeholders from the three Coastal counties met to talk strategy for improving transportation.
David Taylor of the Gulf Regional Planning Commission said, "It's important when we're doing our transportation planning we recognize the importance of connecting our neighborhoods and communities together. Because most of the folks who live here live, work and play in different areas of the coast, we want to make sure that we provide the best transportation system that we can for all travelers."
Leaders said the convenience of travel affects where people chose to shop which affects the economy.
"If it wasn't for the interstates and the highways. we wouldn't exist. Getting people in. Getting people out," said Mayor Mike Smith of Waveland. "Primarily getting people in to stay there is what we want to do, but getting to us."
Riemann said, "I think whenever you have a good transportation system and people don't have to wait, then they can easily go visit the different businesses that they want to shop in then they're absolutely going to want to go there."
Officials say they have identified about 25 locations in the three coastal counties where there are safety concerns about the frequency of drivers running off the road. They say they plan to implement low cost solutions to make those accidents less likely.