BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - From the vantage point under the Popp's Ferry Bridge, you can see the enormous task of repairing the huge hole caused by a barge that slammed into the span last month. Construction workers are busy fixing the chipped concrete, forming collars around two broken pilings, and driving the 12th and final piling into the Biloxi Back Bay.
With so many boats cruising close by, it's DMR patrol officer Anthony Tremonte's job to make sure those boaters don't disrupt the bridge work.
"Last thing these workers need is a lot of wake to mess up their barges and everything," said Tremonte.
So he's warning boaters to slow down in the new No Wake Zone.
"We're going to be checking safety equipment, as well as making sure that y'all understand the No Wake Zone that's been posted around here, right?" Tremonte told a group of young people on a boat.
The zone affects waters within 500 feet of the center line of the bridge. Tremonte says a big wake can stir up a lot of problems for the workers.
"Say right now, they're driving the piling in. If the barge moves enough, the piling can be torn," said Tremonte.
And that could push the bridge project back.
"As soon as we can get this up and running, people can get back to their daily routine," said Tremonte. "There's no sense in coming through here too quickly."
Violators could face a fine ranging from $100 to $500, plus court costs. The No Wake Zone remains in effect until the bridge repairs are done, and that is scheduled for April 28th.
The repairs are on schedule. Overnight, the workers will start pouring the concrete caps on the bridge. That's the top part of the pilings where the beams sit.