Coliseum Director talks about traffic plans without Popp's Ferry Bridge

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The clean-up work is underway from a barge accident that collapsed portions of the Popp's Ferry bridge in Biloxi. On Sunday afternoon crews were working to remove concrete from a damaged barge. On Friday, two 90-foot sections of the bridge were destroyed making it impassable.

Southern Tow, the company whose tug boat was involved in the incident, says another contractor will come in Monday to raise another barge that sank. Also on Monday, the Biloxi City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss the damaged bridge.

Among those who will be watching the meeting closely is Coast Coliseum Director Bill Holmes. Several large-scale events are coming up and expected to draw thousands of people, many of whom are use to taking a route that includes Popp's Ferry Road.

Holmes says there won't be any definite decisions on a traffic plan until after Monday's city council meeting, but for now, coliseum officials are looking at a few ideas.

More than 500 Sci-Fi enthusiasts spent their Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Coast Convention Center; however, some people found getting to Coast-Con was a little more difficult than usual.

Ken Burnside, a video game designer, was one of the guest speakers.

"There was some traffic snarl-ups because a few people had a Tom-Tom that they were driving in on and the route the Tom-Tom was showing them was a little bit blocked off. "

Coast Coliseum Director Bill Holmes says while there are no large conventions scheduled soon, the Crawfish Festival is expected to draw 50,000 people over eight days in April.

In early May, 8,500 people will arrive with tickets to the sold out Taylor Swift concert. Holmes says with the Popp's Ferry bridge out, the coliseum is considering its traffic control options.

"We've been working with Yates who has blacktopped our Gate 3, the second gate off of Beauvoir," he said. "That will allow us to open that gate for drivers coming down Highway 90 or coming down Pass Road."

Holmes says on Monday, the coliseum plans to send out emails to 30,000 members of the Coliseum VIP club giving them advanced notice that they'll need to take alternate routes.

Holmes said, "It's going to be an inconvenience but it's nothing that we can't surmount with good marking on the interstate. We shouldn't have a problem."

Coast-Con attendees said in the end taking the detour wasn't that bad.

"We did had one case where somebody called in and said, 'I don't know how to get to the convention center,'" Burnside said. "We asked what intersection are you at, and we sent somebody out to guide them in."

Holmes says he's met with Biloxi city officials about the bridge and plans to meet with them again this week.

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