MDOT interchange plans draws critics

Published 1:48 pm Friday, October 24, 2008

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is being criticized by a group of homeowners who say the agency’s plan to reconstruct a highway interchange will destroy their small community.

MDOT officials unveiled plans Tuesday to reconstruct the Mississippi Highway 42 interchange near Eatonville on Interstate 59 in an effort to ease congestion from the Evelyn Gandy Parkway.

The work would require the purchase of about 160 acres from about 30 property owners, including homeowners in Forrest County.

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Wilmer Backstrom, an 84-year-old widow who owns a home and 12 acres in the area, says her neighbors look after her and she wouldn’t be able to relocate and live alone. Backstrom says the work would destroy her tight-knit community.