Long Beach leaders propose two ambitious road projects - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach leaders propose two ambitious road projects


Long Beach is starting 2016 by trying to get the go ahead for two ambitious road projects. On Tuesday’s board of aldermen agenda, is a resolution to create a new exit off Interstate 10 in Long Beach.

Ward 1 Alderman Gary Ponthieux said it’s time to build a north-south connector road from the beach to I-10. His proposal is to use Klondyke Road as that link. 

"We need a connection that would be viable," Ponthieux said. "What better area than Klondyke Road down to our city?"

Right now, drivers can get off the interstate at exit 28 or exit 31 to get down to Long Beach. Exit 28 is Beatline Road. Exit 31 is Canal Road.  Once on either of those roads, cars must make either left or right turns to get into the city. That’s why Ponthieux wants to work with MDOT on exit 28B.  

Klondyke Road currently ends at 28th Street. Ponthieux wants aldermen to send a resolution to Gov. Phil Bryant’s office that requests BP money to extend Klondyke to a new exit off the interstate. He contends the north/south access will benefit the eastern half of Long Beach, an area that includes USM Gulf Coast. 

"Without BP funding, it’s unrealistic," Ponthieux concedes.  

How much money will the Klondyke connector cost?  Ponthieux has no idea, realizing it will be in the millions of dollars. 

At the same time, the city is trying to work with neighboring Pass Christian on a second road project that also links Highway 90 to the interstate.  The idea behind this initiative is to extend Beatline Road over the railroad tracks and down to the beachfront. 

At the moment, Beatline stops at the tracks. To get to Highway 90, cars must make a left turn and head east on Railroad Street before crossing the tracks at White Harbor Road. 

Long Beach aldermen signed off on this plan at their last meeting. The Pass Christian Board of Aldermen take up the idea at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

Why is Pass Christian involved? 

"Long Beach is asking us to do it," Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott said.

Long Beach aldermen believe that two cities looking at the Beatline Road extension are probably better than just one. So, they reached out to McDermott. He agreed to ask his aldermen to pass a resolution and let the city’s planning committee take a look at whether the Beatline extension is feasible. 

"If you have a straight line, you would be better off," said McDermott. But, he noted, "Nobody’s got any money for that."

Railroad tracks cut across both road projects. Consequently, CSX will be involved in any road construction discussions if either project gets the go ahead. Ponthieux said it’s far too early to get CSX involved in any road extension talks.

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