Leaders Pledge To Ease Martin Bluff Intersection Problems

"Sometimes we have pileups out here and it gets really clustered, you know," cashier Joy McMurrian says.

She sees the Martin Bluff Road traffic nightmare out of her window every morning.

"Oh God, traffic is lined up on Martin Bluff probably about a half of a mile down, maybe further. And traffic this way is about as bad. It takes forever to get moving."

While Gautier does have plans to widen the road sometime in the future, city leaders want something done now.

Councilman-At-Large Jeff Wilkinson says the city's now focusing attention on two intersections - the one where Martin Bluff meets Frontage Road, and the intersection at Gautier-Vancleave Road.

"The plan for that intersection is to add an extra turning lane for the traffic coming out, which would move twice the traffic that they are moving now. Reconfigure the Frontage Road, Martin Bluff Road, to try and encourage more people onto Frontage Road which would lessen traffic over here," Wilkinson says.

Planning Director Ralph Hode says the new project wouldn't slow down the road widening plan. It'd just add to it.

"Improving those intersections may even change the character of the road widening project, so we may not have to widen it quite as much," Hode says.

As for the money, city leaders say they already have some money allotted for these projects. Now it's just a matter of putting the plans together and going before the city council.

Wilkinson says getting support shouldn't be a problem.

"It would be like saying, 'I'm for dirty water,'" Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson hopes to have the project completed within a year. Officials say the entire road widening project will cost around $10 million. A civic group, including Mayor Pete Pope, is in Washington D.C. right now petitioning Congress for that money.