GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It can be a bumpy ride for drivers on Courthouse Road in Gulfport. Pedestrians don't have a sidewalk, and most of the street doesn't have adequate night lighting.
But according to Gulfport City Councilman Ricky Dombrowski, that's all about to change.
"It's going to beautify this street, and it will be a much nicer street," said Dombrowski.
Dombrowski says Courthouse Road improvement plans have been in the works for five years, and recently got the go ahead from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The project calls for a center median added south of the tracks and significant lighting upgrades, including decorative double hanging lights in those medians.
"People will defiantly notice it," Dombrowski said. "Right now when you're driving down it, you get beat up on this road. It's similar to Debuys Road when it was bad. This is going to be much better once we get it complete."
Possibly the biggest group to benefit from the upgrades will be Gulfport High Students. A traffic light is scheduled to be added at the entrance of the school, and safety is being addressed for students who walk to and from school.
"Some of these drivers, they're crazy and they're reckless," said Gulfport High Student Zytrel' Cole. "I think just having a sidewalk would make it a little safer."
Student Aaron Higdon added "It just seems like a good idea for safety reasons, especially for people who just might not be paying the fullest attention to walking or driving."
The added sidewalk will run from the beach up to Pass Road.
"It's going to be a ten foot sidewalk that will also allow bikes and walking traffic and people with strollers and things like that, so it's much needed," Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski says 20 percent of the funding for the project will come from the city, and the other 80 percent from the Federal Highway Administration. Once a contractor is selected, everything else is in place for work to begin.
The city can start advertising for construction bids on Dec. 20 and Dombrowski says he expects it to take about one year for the work to be completed from the time it starts.