HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A transportation project that's been talked about for decades has new life. Harrison County supervisors heard more on Monday about a proposed East-West corridor roadway.
The main idea behind an East-West corridor is to lessen traffic congestion on Pass Road and Highway 90. Even though the project has been studied twice before, Coast Transit Authority director Kevin Coggin says now is the time to move forward.
"We're not just going to do another study that's going to sit on the shelf," said Coggin, addressing county supervisors at Monday's board meeting. "The goal is to position our community to go and apply for this money."
Two previous studies about building an East-West corridor along or near the CSX railroad showed that a need for a limited access road does exist.
Building it, however, is the real challenge.
"The need for the East-West corridor was always substantiated," said Elaine Wilkerson of the Gulf Regional Planning Commission. "They always felt there needed to be this East-West corridor. It was how to go about it that got it so convoluted."
She also addressed the board of supervisors to discuss the project.
Coggin says it's about more than moving traffic, it also involves economic development. The corridor would provide a critical link to existing facilities.
"Armed Forces Retirement center, Edgewater Mall, Mississippi Coast Coliseum convention center," Coggin told the board members. "We're always talking about ways to move people quickly to and from the convention center."
Some supervisors are skeptical. They pointed out the two studies already on the shelf with no movement toward road building.
"The feasibility of a total East-West corridor across Harrison County, I don't think our grandchildren will live to see that," said supervisor Marlin Ladner.
Supervisors were told that MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are on board with the project. Coggin, however, says the price tag would require it be built in sections.
"Because the dollar value it would cost to go out and build the whole thing at one time is just not feasible.," said Coggin.
Harrison County supervisors tabled the request that the county contribute $25,000 toward the cost of that study.
The bulk of the $1.4 million study will be paid with federal transit grant money the CTA received after Katrina.