LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Detour signs, blinking lights and a torn up road are part of the latest construction at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus, and it's all thanks to a $500,000 grant from the "Gateway Improvement Project".
The university is widening the entryway and building larger, more visible signs. The goal: a safer, and more attractive campus.
"This has been in the plans since early spring to mid-summer. So we're just delighted to finally get this project kicked off," said USM Gulf Park Vice President Dr. Steve Miller.
The project calls for adding a westbound turn lane from the campus onto Highway 90 to ease congestion at the traffic light at the main entrance.
"It's been backed up all the way to the library. It's taken me five to seven minutes just to get out over there," said USM senior Sam McElveen.
The wider entrance will also have new curbing and striping. Once the project is finished, work will then start on two, large stone and stucco signs; one on each side of the new road.
"Not only will it be a pretty enhancement to this already beautiful campus, it'll be a nice visibility way point for people coming from the beach side. So we're very proud to be able to do that," said Miller.
Students say the construction is a good sign for the Long Beach campus.
"It's always amazing to witness growth. It's always great to see where we start and where we finish. This is a very much needed development," said USM senior Crystal Stinson. "And with the grand entrance way, that's just going to make us look more like a university."
"It's definitely going to put us much more on the map. It's going to let people know that we are here," said McElveen.
Road work is expected to last through the end of October; new signs should be finished by the end of 2015