Wider Cowan Road Impacts Some Businesses

The two lanes south of the Industrial Seaway bridge used to be one of the most heavily traveled sections of Cowan Lorraine Road. Now the two lane road looks more like a ghost town.

It's become a frightening sight to Jane Ngo, owner of Citgo convenience store. Business is so gloomy, Ngo said, "Maybe we'll have to go out of business."

Ngo's store was the first business drivers would see when the came over the two lane bridge. When the new four lane bridge opened Friday night, the 11 year old store got lost behind a thicket of trees.

Ngo said Gulfport needed the newer, wider north/south road, "But we're scared for us."

Now, instead of turning right into her parking lot, Cowan Road drivers must make two turns to reach Ngo's store. She said that's caused her customer base to speed right past her. "We're nervous," Ngo said. "And we're scared, too."

Next door, Michael Riggins is worried for different reasons. Bankers said his office plaza's property value is falling, because it's no longer on Cowan Lorraine road. And the wider Cowan Road is making it tougher on his pest control truck drivers. "You can't really cross the road," Riggins said. "You have no red lights. You still have to dodge across all the traffic."

Riggins said in the long run, that won't hurt his business. On the other hand, Jane Ngo said that she'll know in a month if her convenience store can survive without being directly on Cowan Lorraine Road.

According to project engineers, demolition crews will start taking apart the old Cowan Lorraine Road drawbridge at the end of the month.