GULFPORT — Court challenges are pending, but the Mississippi Department of Transportation is moving ahead with plans to buy 1,638 acres south of Interstate 10 and turn it over to state and nonprofit groups for permanent conservation.
The environmental agreement MDOT reached with federal agencies would forever end proposals for commercial development just south of I-10 between U.S. 49 and Canal Road. The agreement also would allow MDOT to go forward with construction of a state port connector road from I-10 to U.S. 90, a route crucial to the port's plans for expansion.
The road would destroy 162 acres of wetlands. In exchange, MDOT plans to buy and place 1,638 acres in perpetual conservation easements. The state Department of Marine Resources would own the land, but about 447 acres on both sides of Turkey Creek would be managed by a nonprofit, the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
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