Coast transportation improvement projects up for federal investment

Coast transportation improvement projects up for federal investment
(Source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Gulf Regional Planning Commission is seeking public input on a four-year transportation improvement plan. The four year plan outlines how around $25 million, or $5.5 million a year, could be split among more than two dozen projects.

One project listed aims to improve the safety of Biloxi's Main Street railroad crossing.

The city has requested $160,000 in federal funds. The city will match $40,000 for asphalt work to reduce the steepness of the crossing.

Studies to improve the crossing safety started after last year's fatal bus-train crash. Awarding of the funds is scheduled for 2020, but officials say the dangers of the crossing could put it on the fast track for completion.

"If the city is ready, and we get all the engineering done, which from my understanding, they are taking some great strides in that area, so I think that's all close to being done, I think its very realistic that this project could actually be constructed in 2019," said Planning Director David Taylor.

A stalled project in Ocean Springs could also receive funding to move forward. The city has requested more than $380,000 to add a pathway along East Beach in Ocean Springs - a project that was on the list for funding once before.

"There was a suit filed to stop it from happening and basically funding was withdrawn at that point. But the city has indicated to us that the litigation issue has been resolved and the city can move forward, so we've allocated money for it again. So hopefully this time we can move forward," said Taylor.

There will be an opportunity for the public to review the plans, and offer input on future projects during a meeting Thursday at the CTA Transit Center from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. There's another opportunity Saturday at the Bay St. Louis Second Saturday Festival from 4 pm to 6 pm.

To view the TIP draft or submit comments or questions, click here.

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