OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs wants to make the small craft harbor more friendly to both both boat and car traffic. On Monday the city began accepting bids to widen a section of Harbor Road. City leaders said the project is about making harbor visits more convenient as well as improving safety.
On a rainy day we didn't see anyone setting sail from the Ocean Springs Small Craft Harbor. However, during nicer weather, drivers said there are so many boaters trying to launch that vehicles trying to pass through the area end up having to wait awhile.
Joey Willis said, "They'll be backed up around the corner. You're waiting for boats to launch and then it will mess up your boat if you try to go too fast to get out of the way of the traffic."
To improve traffic flow, Ocean Springs will widen a section of Harbor Road.
"The whole Harbor Road area that stretches from the county harbor master house around the corner towards the beach," said Carolyn Martin, Ocean Springs Planning and Grants Administrator. "It really will create a safer environment to be able to separate boat trailer launching activity from regular vehicles and also a sidewalk. So it will really provide a safer environment to access the harbor."
As funds become available, the city will take on more projects that make for a better harbor.
"The hope is to continue to provide landscaping improvements and improvements to the the finger piers in the launching areas once we can get the road in place and see if there are any additional funds as we go forward," Martin said.
City officials said improvements to the harbor are moving forward thanks to a collaborative effort between Ocean Springs, Jackson County, and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Leaders hope to start work in January so that much of the work will be done before the start of boating season.