Biloxi declares state of emergency for bridge repairs

By WLOX Staff

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi City Council declared a state of emergency Monday morning, due to Friday's barge collision with the Popp's Ferry Bridge. Mayor A.J. Holloway said Saturday that he hopes to see the bridge back up and running in 60 days or less.

"This bridge is critical to our day-to-day travels, and we're not too far away from the June 1 opening of hurricane season," Holloway said, "so I want a state of emergency declaration to let our state and federal partners know the enormity of this situation."

Repair work to the bridge after Hurricane Katrina was finished in less than four months. Officials expect to follow a similar repair plan this time.

After reviewing the bridge's original plans late Friday, city engineers have determined that two 90-foot sections of the bridge were destroyed in the accident, as well as eight pilings. The overall bridge is 3,983.5 feet long, of three-quarters of a mile, according to its original plans.

The tugboat Cheryl Stegbauer and five barges had been removed from the scene Friday night, and a barge was scheduled to arrive Saturday for workers to begin removing debris and the remaining three barges, one of which sunk in the accident. Also on Saturday, city workers turned on the bridge's generator and raised the bridge's draw spans to their fully erect position.

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