Sangani Boulevard widening may be delayed

D’IBERVILLE

 City officials are still hoping to start widening Sangani Boulevard next month to ease the traffic congestion around the shops, restaurants and movie theater.

Mayor Rusty Quave said the city is working with U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor’s office to try to get the federal government to back off on requiring an environmental assessment that could delay the project for months.

City Manager Michael Janus has questioned the need for the impact study since there are parking lots on both sides of the road.

“It’s absolutely the top priority road construction project we have,” said city planner Jeff Taylor, who met with an official from the Mississippi Department of Transportation on the site Wednesday.

At Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Police Chief Wayne Payne said this past weekend was the busiest he’s seen at the shopping areas along Sangani and at The Promenade.

“Every store was packed full of people,” he said and the restaurants were also full. The police will continue to help with traffic control, said Payne, but the road will continue to be congested until it is widened.

The owner of Which Wich sandwich shop, Richard Zahler told the council he lost one-third of his customers when the traffic became so unbearable they couldn’t get to the shopping center where his restaurant backs up to the Grand Theater.

“It happened when The Promenade opened up. The jam-up at I-110 and 67 is so horrible,” he said. “It’s not just a Friday and Saturday thing. It’s an everyday thing.”

Quave said a small city like D’Iberville isn’t supposed to have traffic like this, but people come from across the area to dine and shop. Some shops and restaurants have seen a big boost in sales, he said, including a drug store on Sangani Boulevard whose manager said business has increased 40 percent since The Promenade opened.

Taylor said an environmental study could delay the start of the project by 45 days or more.

One thing is certain, he said. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

The city will set a date for a public workshop for business owners to inform them of the work that will be done in the city and MDOT’s plans for new exits off the interstates.

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com

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