The state has just begun studying the expense and the environmental impact of both routes and will take at least a year to make a decision, but the unveiling of the route across Jackson County has raised concerns in the Latimer community, which is north of Interstate 10 above Ocean Springs.
Residents there have said they’re concerned that the route would cross and damage more than three miles of sensitive wetlands and plow through residential communities of large-lot home sites.
“Now is the time to have your voice heard,” said Wayne Brown, Southern District highway commissioner. “In this case, write MDOT or contact your county through your supervisor.”
MDOT held meetings on the subject in Stone County, Perry County and D’Iberville in Harrison County last month. None were held in Jackson County, but Brown said that if there’s enough interest in Jackson County, he would come to the county and meet with a group to explain the two routes.
He said the meeting would allow residents to hear MDOT staff explain environmental impact, rights-of-way and how each route might be built.
Brown gave strong reasons why the alternative route through Jackson County looks good.
He said that to continue Mississippi 15 north from where it is now, would mean going through U.S. Forest Service land and Camp Shelby, which would require approval from both of those entities. He said that getting that approval could be difficult. He said the alternate route would benefit economic development in northwest Jackson County, which is growing.