BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Losing the Popp's Ferry Bridge will certainly create major traffic troubles. Thousands of drivers who rely on that span will have to find an alternate route to work or school. And that will no doubt test the patience of many motorists.
Anyone who was here right after Katrina will know what to expect: Traffic congestion and delays. With a major bridge out of service, patience will be needed on busier than normal roadways like Highway 90 and the I-110.
The advice for motorists may not be particularly pleasant, but it is needed. Leave a little earlier and allow plenty of extra travel time.
"We've got 30,000 or 35,000 cars a day coming across this bridge, and they're going to have to go somewhere else now. So, it's going to be a nightmare for quite a while now," Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said.
It is reminiscent of the widespread traffic troubles right after the hurricane: Barricades, alternate routes, and police re-directing drivers.
"We've all been through this before. We know what the detour routes are. We're going to work to get a temporary bridge up here, but don't know if it's possible at this point," said Vincent Creel, with the City of Biloxi.
"We talked to M-DOT earlier. They're going to send their engineers down here to see if we need a temporary, which I'm sure we're going to have to have a temporary," Mayor Holloway said.
With the busy bridge out of service for who-knows-how-long, transportation officials are also looking at making some adjustments on other roads to accommodate the expected overflow.
"M-DOT is right now looking at traffic patterns on Highway 90 and how they're going to be changed by this. And working in conjunction with the mayor's office, they're looking to possibly change the timing on some of the traffic signals on Highway 90 to help move traffic," Creel said.
Ironically, motorists who use the Popp's Ferry Bridge were advised to consider an alternate route even before the accident happened.
"Last night we put up a traffic advisory sign, a flashing video board on the north side of the bridge saying, 'Plan to use an alternate route.' Because we were scheduled to begin paving south of this bridge Sunday night," Creel said.