Gulfport leaders hands tied in getting intersection traffic light

Gulfport leaders hands tied in getting intersection traffic light

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A.Z. McKenzie says he was turning off East Taylor Rd. onto Cowan Rd. early Thursday morning when he collided with a motorcycle going north on Cowan.

"I know in the time we've been living here, we've seen at least 10 different motorcycle wrecks right here,"said McKenzie. "It's usually the same thing. They need a light right here. "

Gulfport leaders agree. The city has repeatedly asked the Mississippi Department of Transportation to put a light at East Taylor, even suggesting the idea during a recent sit-down visit with the Southern District Transportation Commissioner.

However, the answer from MDOT is still the same - East Taylor can only get a light if the Brentwood light is moved there, which city officials say would cause traffic problems for nearby residents.

With increased commercial development, leaders worry for the safety of visitors.

"Those types of businesses see a lot of visitors over the course of an eight hour day. They're visitors that aren't as intimately familiar with the intersection like the residents are," said Gulfport Councilman Myles Sharp. "Trying to navigate that intersection can be quite dangerous."

Gulfport leaders say it's a dangerous situation they can do little about.

"That is a state highway over which the city has no control," added Sharp. "The only other option we would have as a city  would be to take some property by eminent domain to build a frontage road for these neighborhoods, and these areas, to get everyone to the light at Brentwood. The city can ill afford to do that at this time because of the expense that would be involved in doing that."

MDOT officials say according to their design standards, for this type of roadway there must be at least 1/3 of a mile between traffic lights.

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