Update On Road Construction Projects

They are three words that coast motorists are all too familiar with: Road Work Ahead.

Millions of dollars in road construction projects are currently underway to accommodate the increasing traffic in South Mississippi. That can often mean travel delays, occasional detours and frustrated drivers. The construction crews are making progress, but with so much roadwork happening now, we seem to be in a constant state of construction.

The widening of Cowan Road south of Pass Road is in the early stages. It won't be open for at least another two years. The good news is that most major projects are on schedule. The downside is they're still many months away from completion.

Road construction crews are trying to keep pace with a growing coast.

Melinda McGrath is in charge of keeping track of state road projects in six South Mississippi counties, including the road work in Ocean Springs.

"Widen the intersection of Highway 609 and 90 to let it travel quicker and handle a larger volume of traffic."

Related drainage work is underway now. The widening should be done by next summer.  The completion date is July 13, 2002, and the work is about 40 percent complete and right on schedule.

Widening I-10 is a five-phase project. The related widening of Lamey Bridge has delayed the finishing date. The state had to re negotiate with the contractor. The new finishing date is now March 5, 2003.

Coast drivers are getting used to construction delays and the familiar orange and white barrels. The ongoing roadwork is not something they enjoy, but rather something they endure.

"Well, I just look at it as improvement and go along with my business, leave home a few minutes early. That's the only way I can get around it," Ocean Springs resident Frank Maniscalco said.

Carol Georges says the road work in Ocean Springs impacts more than motorists.

"We also have a family business right down the road, and it's hard to get in and out. So, they've lost business because of it."

Drivers who experience the inconvenience will no doubt be happy once the work is over.