Motorists might find the going slow at times, but heavily traveled Courthouse Road should remain open to at least one lane of traffic each way as it undergoes a major facelift over the next year, including the addition of a path for pedestrians and cyclists.
The city has awarded a $5 million contract for the work to Jay Bearden Construction Inc. based in the Jackson area. Work is expected to start around June 26.
Bearden’s project manager, Ryan Killingsworth, said the city will receive five days notice if it becomes necessary to completely close a portion of the road for work that will run from U.S. 90 to Pass Road.
City of Gulfport Engineering Director Kris Riemann said Gulf Regional Planning Commission and the Mississippi Department of Transportation secured 80 percent of the funding, with the remaining 20 percent being paid from a city bond issue. Improvements were designed to fit within the city’s existing rights of way.
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Riemann doesn’t recall the four-lane road being repaved in the past 20 years.
He said pavement is cracked and sunken in places, and portions of the road flood in heavy rain because drainage pipes are too small. In addition to repaving the road, Bearden will install larger storm drains.
Riemann said other improvements will turn Courthouse Road into what is being referred to these days as a “complete street.”
Pedestrians and cyclists will have a 10 foot-wide path on the east side of Courthouse, from the beach to Pass Road. A sidewalk also will run on the road’s west side, north of Perry Street to Pass. Raised medians with landscaping and turning bays will be added south of Perry.
A pedestrian traffic signal will be added at 33rd Street for Gulfport High School students.
Courthouse also will have decorative lights like those on U.S. 90 in Gulfport.
“You’ve just got a very strong mix of all kinds of businesses and residents that live on Courthouse Road and the idea is to make it as nice as downtown Gulfport,” Riemann said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”