Coast Transit pedestrian tramway construction will begin next year in Gulfport

The bridge will improve pedestrian safety and make Jones Park more accessible to downtown visitors.
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:35 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Coast Transit Authority Board on Monday approved a $16.9 million contract to begin construction next year on a pedestrian bridge across Highway 90 at Jones Park.

The city of Gulfport approved $6.1 million for the project last week.

An additional $11 million is coming from the Federal Transit Administration along with $1 million of Restore Act funds from the Mississippi Development Authority.

The bridge will improve pedestrian safety and make Jones Park more accessible to downtown visitors.

“Any twelve-month period in the city of Gulfport, we’ll probably cross 150,000 people right there,” said Gulfport chief Administrative Officer Leonard Papania. “And to know that we’re moving in a direction where that crossing will become safer is exciting for all of us.”

Architectural renderings show the bridge starting at the ramp that leads to the Mississippi Aquarium from the CTA parking garage. The bridge would cross Highway 90 and split sending pedestrians and bicycles to the east and west while a tram run by CTA would go east.

“People will be parking on the north side, needing to go to the south side and this creates that safe, quick link and we think it will actually be kind of a magnet to bring people down into Jones Park that wouldn’t normally go there,” said Kevin Coggin, executive director of Coast Transit Authority.

The city has talked in the past about commercial development along the Small Craft Harbor waterfront and a desire to connect Jones Park to downtown. This pedestrian bridge would be a big part of that vision.

“It’s really going to help connect what we call the front door of Mississippi to downtown Gulfport and we’re excited about it,” Papania said.

The contract was awarded to Malouf Construction of Greenville. The contract calls for the completion of the project by January 2024.

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