Jackson County

Ocean Springs begins project to make city more walkable

Work begins Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, on a sidewalk project on Government Street in Ocean Springs.
Work begins Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, on a sidewalk project on Government Street in Ocean Springs. klnelson@sunherald.com

Beginning in mid-October and continuing for the next six months into early spring, construction crews will be improving sidewalks in east Ocean Springs, building new ones, installing a bridge and putting in a fancy crosswalk.

It’s all part of a $1.2 million project that has been in the making for at least three years. City officials celebrated the groundbreaking Tuesday morning with MDOT, Jackson County and Gulf Regional Planning, but what’s coming could be a little tricky for people who live in the many neighborhoods or have children in the schools in east Ocean Springs.

The project runs from the Greyhound Stadium all the way to Ocean Springs Middle School. It’s a part of town badly in need of sidewalks, city officials say, for people who walk their children to school and for residents who jog and bike. The project is all about making the city more walkable and accessible by some means other than a car.

Alderman Jerry Dalgo points out that Government Street, also known as Old Spanish Trail, was a commercial corridor years ago. But along the three miles of the sidewalk project, there are fewer than a half-dozen commercial businesses, he said. He watched it shift into residential as more than a dozen neighborhoods and schools have grown up along its path in east Ocean Springs.

“Population is growing out here,” he said. “That’s were all the growth has been. We want to connect the neighborhoods. When I knock on doors, what people tell me they want to see is more sidewalks on Government Street.”

As the project begins, at times there will be traffic reduced to one-lane with a flagmen. The city hopes to plan work around school traffic hours.

About the project:

▪  The sidewalks will be wide and set back from the main road for safety. Where there are existing sidewalks, they will be improved and connected.

▪  The project starts at Hanley Road with sidewalks on the south side of Government Street to Broome’s No. 2 Grocery.

▪  A $100,000 MDOT-approved crosswalk will be installed at Keri Cove near the access road to Clay Boyd Park and the sidewalks will continue on the north side of Government Street.

▪  Davis Bayou will get a 54-foot walkable bridge with prefabricated wood. It will be like the one over Heron Bayou. The bridge will come in one piece for quicker installation.

▪  Sidewalks will continue on the north side of Government from Heron Bayou to the middle school.