Road Work Causing Problems For Drivers, Businesses

Orange construction markers line every side of Telephone road. They divide Telephone Road in half and prevent cars from crossing Highway 90.

The fact that this change is permanent has surprised drivers.

"They didn't put any notification to the public with street signs, on the radio, or nothing, so it caused some mass confusion after work the other day," Pascagoula resident Bob Poppenhouse said.

That confusion continues. The driver of an 18-wheeler misunderstood a detour sign and tried to make a U-turn in the middle of Highway 90, causing a minor back up.

Road engineers say the detours are needed.

"In order for us to do the work and put new barrier islands in the middle of 90, we had to close the intersection and barrel it off so our crews could get in there and do some work," said Kelly Castleberry with the state Department of Transportation.

The biggest problem drivers are having is they can't turn left off Highway 90 to go north. Because of that, drivers are forced to go Market Street for a six-block detour. Businesses in this area say they are already feeling the effects.

"The traffic is just not here anymore, our customers have to go out of their way to get here," Carol Thomas said.

For more than 20 years, the small dry cleaning store where she works has counted on the steady traffic of Telephone Road for its business. Now she's worried customers will go somewhere else to avoid the detours.

"They are very upset over it. About three of them got tickets on Tuesday trying to get here, and they were very upset."

"If you have any appointment after work in this area, you better make some extra time," Poppenhouse said.

Drivers should prepare to see orange for a while. State road crews say it will be at least a year before permanent road work will be completed.