Graveline Bayou Causeway Almost Ready For Traffic

Construction on the new Graveline Bayou Causeway is nearly complete.

The bridge is scheduled to open on Friday and will replace a flood prone section of Fountain Blue Road which, in the past, has left many people stranded during severe weather.

For almost 20 years Ginger Lashley has lived in the St. Andrews area.

That means 20 years of being stranded anytime the waters of the Graveline Bayou would rise and cover Fountain Blue Road which used to be the only way in or out of the area.

"I can remember not even having storms but having rain and a lot of wind and it going under in places. So this is going to help out a lot. I've been stuck in and stuck out a lot," said homeowner Ginger Lashley

Lashley and other neighbors like Paul Watts know their days of being stranded will soon be over... once the causeway opens.

The bridge will hopefully give them a safe and dependable evacuation route when bad weather threatens.

"I was here through two hurricanes. It was flooded over there where the bridge is going eliminate that problem," said homeowner Paul Watts.

It will also eliminate the three and a half mile detour people living in the area have had to take since construction on the bridge began almost a year ago.

"I can't wait. I work in Pascagoula and I have to go all the way around right now and it's going to cut a good ten minutes off my driving time," Lashley said.

People living in the Saint Andrews and Fountaine Blue communities won't be the only ones glad to see the causeway open on Friday morning, so will members of law enforcement and emergency workers who say they lose valuable minutes of response time by making the detour.

"It actually adds on an extra ten minutes to our response time, especially an emergency call where someone's in need of help. It's a long way around. It takes a lot of time," said Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Shawn Freeman.

People like Ginger Lashley who live in the area say there's no question having the causeway open will improve their quality of life.

Officers like Shawn Freeman also say there's no question it will help them save lives.

A dedication ceremony for the new causeway will be held Friday morning at ten o'clock, just before it's officially open for traffic.