Gautier residents demanding answers on unfinished Martin Bluff Rd. widening project
GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Several years have passed since the city of Gautier started widening Martin Bluff Road, and according to residents, not much has changed since.
Gina Penn has lived near the road her entire life. For as long as she can remember, Martin Bluff Road has been under construction.
“I’m thinking 10 or plus years,” she explained. “When I first seen the sign, which I don’t see anymore. It used to be posted right here. I’m not quite sure when they started it, but it’s been quite some time since they’ve been working on it.”
The city of Gautier has indeed been working to widen the road since before 2016 when demolition began on homes bought out to make way for a bigger road.
Last September, city leaders said the Martin Bluff widening would be finished as early as this year.
Brian Versiga, who also lives in the area, said they had high hopes for the project.
“We were in high expectations of a widening project and update from what we have been used to. It was in rough shape then, and it hasn’t gotten better, and the urgency behind the project is very lack off,” Versiga said.
In a Facebook post this week, the city released an update on the project, saying most of the work has been done underground, adding people are not seeing the contractor’s equipment on site right now because they are quote “working through some issues.”
According to neighbor Charles Rotten, that’s the first update residents have received in quite a while.
“They don’t answer questions. It’s very frustrating. We’ve been here since 1998 and it seems to be more like a city in decline than a city expanding,” Rotten said.
With construction not finished in a congested area, Versiga says driving on the road is becoming a hazard.
“We have properties around this area, we have to travel every day multiple times. It’s a rough ride. It’s becoming a hazard we need some answers,” Versiga said.
Residents hope old projects are acknowledged before the city continues working on newer projects.
“They’ve got this big amphitheater they are building out there by city hall which will probably be a good place, but right across the street, you have the old Singing River Mall that is tearing down. We aren’t getting anywhere,” Rotten said.
We reached out to the city, but no one was available to comment.
The city also said they are under a “working day contract,” which sets apart a certain number of days when contractors can work.
As of this month, crews have been working for approximately 241 days.
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