Residents Weigh In On Highway 601 Proposal - - The News for South Mississippi

Residents Weigh In On Highway 601 Proposal

Ask anyone who travels Highway 49 on a regular basis, and they will tell you that traffic is becoming a very big problem. That is especially the case during morning and afternoon rush hour.

There is a plan in the works to relieve some of that congestion, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation wants to know what you think. That's why MDOT held a public meeting in Saucier Tuesday night.

The highway MDOT has proposed building would be called Highway 601. It would be four lanes, and could run as many as 35 miles, beginning at the I-10 Canal Road interchange. It may go all the way to Wiggins, or, at some point link up with Highway 49, which would be widened.

Those are decisions still to be made.

Some of those at the meeting know the highway could directly impact their property. They are people like Larry Gartman and his wife.

The Gartmans own a lot of property in the area, and Larry Gartman has mixed feelings about Highway 601.

"I am not happy about eminent domain being used to build a new highway," Gartman said.

However, he knows there is no standing in the way of progress. Gartman says the corridor would be vitally important as a northbound evacuation route during future hurricanes.

Highway 601 is still early in the planning stages. Like any roadway, it will cost a lot. Estimates are in the half billion dollar range.

And don't expect to see the highway anytime soon. In a best case scenario, it would be ready for use in ten to fifteen years.

The turnout for Tuesday night's meeting was quite good. If you missed it, there will be another public meeting Thursday night from 4-7pm at the Orange Grove Community Center.

by Jeff Lawson

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