ST. MARTIN -- The Jackson County Board of Eduction made its point Monday when it asked the county to ban building subdivisions and apartment complexes until it improves roads to the high school and two other schools in west Jackson County.
County Supervisor Troy Ross, whose district is St. Martin, said he understood the Board of Education's concerns, but he couldn't ban new construction.
He said new homes is how the county will raise the tax money it needs to pay for the road improvements.
Instead, he told educators that Yellow Jacket, Old Fort Bayou and other roads in the area are set for improvements this summer, something the county has been promising for 15 years.
He said he believed Monday's formal request for a building moratorium was a way for the schools to get the county's attention, and it did.
"They just want the roads done, and they have their doubts about it," Ross said. "I understand they want attention for this project. Well they have it and they're going to continue to have it."
Ross said a total of $5 million has already been committed to put an intersection at Old Fort Bayou and Yellow Jacket roads, straighten out two curves and establish an alternate route to Mississippi 609 along Walker and Money Farm roads.
The intersection, traffic signal and turn lanes portion of the work is on the verge of getting started and could be complete before school resumes in the fall, he said.
And once an alternate route to the schools is complete, the widening of Old Fort Bayou and Yellow Jacket can begin.
Three schools handling 3,000 students exist along the narrow access roads. And the intersection of Old Fort Bayou Road and Mississippi 609, also known as North Washington Avenue, is also in need of improvement.
But Ross said that intersection is just in the planning stage. The county awarded a $2 million contract to plan the intersection to Neel-Schaffer on Monday, he said.