GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport leaders said they plan to ask for a sit down meeting with Mississippi Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom King concerning traffic issues on Lorraine Road.
City officials say they were told by MDOT they'd have to choose between having a traffic signal at Brentwood Boulevard or at East Taylor Road. Gulfport officials said they want to convince King instead of giving them the option of either or, MDOT should make it both.
Drivers said pulling out from East Taylor Road onto Lorraine Road can be very difficult at certain times of the day.
"It can get pretty busy in the morning and the late afternoon," Chris Ward said.
Some Gulfport leaders said with more commercial development coming in and the large number of homes already on both sides of Lorraine Road, getting drivers easy access to Highway 605 is a challenge.
"What we would like to see is a comprehensive plan that would get all of the residents in these neighborhoods to a traffic signal, either by way of a frontage road or access directly to a traffic light," said Councilman Myles Sharp.
Gulfport leaders would like to see a traffic light at East Taylor Road. MDOT officials told WLOX a light is not needed there. However, MDOT told Gulfport leaders they would move the light at Brentwood Boulevard to East Taylor Road if the city pays for it.
That cost is somewhere around $200,000.
"I think what's kind of hidden in that is by saying that MDOT is willing to move the traffic signal down to East Taylor is an acknowledgement that East Taylor needs a traffic signal," Sharp said. "The fact that there is a traffic signal at Brentwood, which is where they put it when they originally designed the road, is another acknowledgement that that intersection warrants a traffic signal. What we would really like to see is a traffic signal at both intersections. With the technology that we have today and the ability to sync these lights up, it could be done in such a way that would cause a very limited inconvenience to motorists traveling to and from work each day."
Some residents said don't move the Brentwood traffic light. Rebecca Zitterkopf went to the Tuesday council meeting.
"I'm not for that. I think we need the one at Brentwood. I also think we need another one at East Taylor. That church over there on Sunday, St. Marks, has a crowd, and the medical offices and the things that are coming in. We need both lights," said Zitterkopf. "Plus, everybody goes at least 60 mph down Lorraine Road any time of day. There are more accidents on Lorraine Road. You hear the sirens every day."
Sharp said so far, there has been no resolution by the council to pay for moving the Brentwood traffic light.
"I'm going to try to reach out to Mr. King and try to see if I can talk to him about some ideas we have about how to address the traffic concerns," Sharp said.