GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Within 18 months, there finally may be a solution to the congestion at 30th Avenue.
That’s when the Port of Gulfport should begin construction on an elevated bridge for trucks to get in and out of the port without impeding traffic on U.S. 90.
“As a port, with the type of business we're looking at right now and the expansion on that business, we need this road in place,” said port authority executive director and CEO Jonathan Daniels. “It’s an efficiency issue. It’s a safety issue. We also want to make sure that we can get the trucks out of the downtown core with all the work that’s going on, the great work in the city.”
The $15.7 million check, hand-delivered by Mark H. Buzby, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator, is the key.
“It’s one of our 17 national strategic ports, so it’s very critical that we have good efficiency, good flow in and out of this port,” Buzby said. “I think it only means economic strength to this area and more use of the port.”
The project will cost just under $20 million, with the Mississippi State Port Authority slated to contribute almost $4 million itself.
The route would follow 30th Avenue that could offer some opportunities.
“We could use the improvements downtown, but it’s as much about making things efficient here as it is sending a message that this port is vibrant and the investment that has been made in it is going to pay off,” said Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes. “And having a dedicated route for these trucks to come and go without totally bisecting Gulfport is critical. So, I think what we’ve seen in just preliminary plans that there’s a good model to work from.”
The Port of Gulfport was one of 15 projects selected out of more than 80 applications.