GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The road improvement project on Courthouse Road is about 70 percent complete. If you think travel up and down has been a challenge, just wait until next week when school starts at Gulfport High.
While it may be a little messy and time consuming for parents and students coming into the high school, officials believe that the new traffic light at the main entrance to the high school should alleviate some of those problems.
"I think it's a great addition to Courthouse Road," said Gulfport High School principal Mike Lindsey. "I think it's going to provide another layer of safety for our students that are crossing the road and crossing the sidewalk."
Lindsey is well acquainted with managing long-term construction projects.
"We've had construction going on for three years, and we've had some side roads that have been affected," he said. "So, we're excited about the new project on Courthouse Road, and ready for it to be finished obviously. But, we know there's some growing pains."
To help, there will be one way in at Admiral Drive, and one out on Perry Street.
Lindsey says the traffic will likely get backed up on Courthouse coming in, but he's prepared. "We'll just ask the parents to maybe leave a few minutes earlier just in case, be patient with us," Lindsey said. "We're going to get your kid dropped off safely and then picked up safely. It's not a major concern for us right now. We know the Gulfport Police Department will help us out."
Courthouse Plaza, being right next to the main entrance, stands to get hit hard with the traffic as well. "The congestion does get really backed up when school does start," said Olivia Emerson, who works at Nella Home Interiors & Gifts.
While she's looking forward to the end result, she said the road construction will just add to the problem and could hurt business.
"We still have people come in, but this construction, you know, no one wants to ride down this road will all the bumps and all the pot holes and everything," she said. "So, it does make it a little harder."
Andy Phelan with Pickering, the company in charge of the project, said while the area will be an active construction site, workers will be mindful of heavy traffic times.
The completion of the project will likely be extended to the end of the year to give Mississippi Power more time to complete underground conduit design work.