MDOT Asks Public Where North South Connector Should Go

The Mississippi Department of Transportation wants to hear where you think a proposed north-south road in Gulfport should be located. That road would connect with Interstate 10 at Canal Road and then run south to the port. Gulfport leaders say the road would give the city an economic boost. At a public hearing citizens got to look at three different proposals.

David Sanders's church is on 30th Avenue. He says the Mount Bethel congregation is worried about the impact the north south connector road would have on the church.

Sanders said "They would love to see the road elevated and coming down 29th behind the church and not in front of the church. [That's] on account of the traffic flow and would block us from coming into the church."

MDOT offered church members, business owners and other residents.. a chance to study three proposals. Alternatives B, C and L are pretty much the same from Canal Road to 28th Street, but each differs on how it reaches the port.

Alternative B includes widening existing 30th Avenue to look much like Highway 49. Some roads would have be closed under this proposal.

Alternative C would resemble Interstate 110. It would straddle 30th Avenue and would be elevated for a good portion of the way.

Alternative L would take the connector road one block east between the railroad and 29th Avenue. This plan is popular because it would have the least impact on property owners.

Mayor Ken Combs said "I support it because it's the least obtrusive route. It's an elevated route. It will allow us the opportunity to keep all of our intersections and streets open."

Some residents say after years of waiting they're just ready for someone to make a decision.

"I'm just enough to know when they gonna get on with what they're gonna do," said Gulfport resident Madura Teague. "Tell us something you know."

MDOT officials say they'll use the public input to make adjustments and if necessary they'll go back to the drawing board for a way to ease congestion off Highway 49.MDOT officials say they aren't sure about the cost of building the road. They say depending on designs and what properties they'll need to acquire..the project could run anywhere from 85 to 120 million dollars.

by Danielle Thomas