Kiln business owners say no to bypass road

Kiln business owners say no to bypass road

KILN, MS (WLOX) - The debate over a proposed bypass roadway in Hancock County is heating up. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is proposing to build the new road near I-10 and Highway 603 North to the Highway 43-603 interchange in the Kiln.

Kiln business owners and managers appear to be united on the issue.

"It's going to kill us. I think our businesses will just be nothing eventually," said Kiln business owner Gina Haas-Larsen.

Haas-Larsen is the owner of the Flamingo Plaza on Highway 603. She fears MDOT's proposed by-pass will take traffic and potential customers away from her businesses.

"We have a lot of money a lot of investment in this area trying to help the Kiln grow. We really want our kids to stay here live here, not move away to have jobs and businesses," said Haas-Larsen. "I just think bypassing the Kiln area is not a good thing at all."

The bypass plan is MDOT's latest in a string of options. Leaders have said a bypass roadway is needed to give residents an additional evacuation route and to relieve traffic congestion in the area. Thirty-five million dollars in federal funds was allocated for the project after Hurricane Katrina.

Gilmore said, "Everybody is uncertain what to do. No one knows what coming tomorrow. It's not coming tomorrow, but they've been talking about it so long it could be five, ten years before they do something. They need a concrete plan everybody can live with."

Haas-Larsen says the best place for an evacuation route is Texas-Flat Road.

"It would run into the new four lanes coming out of NASA on 607, and it runs straight to Interstate 59," added Haas-Larsen.

She and others say doing a few roadway improvement at the busiest intersections on Highway 603 adding turn lanes and doing work on the road shoulders would solve the traffic problems.

The Hancock County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to send a letter to MDOT asking the state to consider other possibilities.

They also requested MDOT to consider allowing the county to use part of the post Katrina funds for other road projects.

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