Work week begins without major bridge in service

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Starting Monday morning, drivers will tackle the inconvenience of the downed Popp's Ferry bridge head-on.

"It's a big hassle. My kids go to three different schools, so there will be a lot of re-arranging," says Janice Young-Burks of D'Iberville.

"I work out at least five times a week at E-Fitness, so it's an extra 20 minute drive each way," says Biloxi resident Russel Besoiu.

But, steps have already been taken to minimize traffic headaches and to get the Popp's Ferry bridge back in service.

Signal lights should be adjusted on Highway 90 in Biloxi and Cowan-Lorraine Road in Gulfport to help keep traffic moving toward Interstates 10 and 110.

Crews have already begun removing concrete from a damaged barge and plan to remove a sunken barge Monday.

At a special meeting set for Monday morning, Mayor A. J. Holloway will ask the Biloxi City Council to declare a state of emergency. This way, federal dollars can get flowing to MDOT more quickly to begin repairs.

"As far as the council's concerned, we need to come together and support the mayor's request on this thing," says Tom Wall, Biloxi City Council.

Though eight pilings and two 90 foot sections of the bridge were damaged, Biloxi Councilman Ed Gemmil says the bridge isn't as bad off this time.

"It's no where near as bad as the span that was damaged after the storm," says Gemmil.

But, Gemmil says engineers must still determine if additional damage could lie in the bridge's sub-structure.

Once the bridge has been properly examined and things are in place, the mayor is hoping for work to wrap up in about two months.

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