MDOT calls stuck drawbridge a good drill for hurricane season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MDOT calls stuck drawbridge a good drill for hurricane season

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

MDOT officials are calling the 11 hour shutdown of the Wilkes Bridge in Gulfport a good hurricane drill. After a mechanical failure on Wednesday, crews were forced to lower the drawbridge manually, something MDOT officials said they hadn't done in at least 15 years.

When a major hurricane is heading this way, Cowan Road is one of the main routes Coast residents will use to get out of the storm's path, but that evacuation plan depends on drivers being able to cross the Wilkes Bridge.

"Us living on an island and working on an island, any time there is a bridge problem, it causes problems for everybody. We always worry about any of the drawbridges. We've had problems with drawbridges before during hurricanes, and that's always a concern of ours," said Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy.

MDOT officials said for the second time in eight months, one of the components on the Wilkes Bridge's brake system failed, leaving the span stuck in the up position. After realizing it wouldn't be a quick fix, crews decided to lower the bridge the old fashioned way.

MDOT's Gabe Faggard told WLOX News it as a good drill for MDOT crews.

"Not being able to fix the bridge and having to do it manually refreshed our minds on exactly how to do that. In my 15 years at MDOT, we have never lowered a bridge manually. It took 12 people to do," said Faggard. "Every brake had to have a person to manually release it, and it had to be synchronized. Spotters were also needed to guide the span then radio what to do to each individual operating a brake."

MDOT officials said they will always try to fix a problem with a span first, but should that not work and the Coast is under an evacuation, they know they have a backup plan that works and that crews are familiar with.

MDOT officials said the part of the brake system that failed on Wednesday is a different component than what caused the problem eight months ago. Biloxi's Public Works Department sent two of its bridge employees to the Wilkes Bridge to assist with lowering it manually.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Large home being renovated in west Gulfport catches fire

    Large home being renovated in west Gulfport catches fire

    Thursday, May 25 2017 10:04 AM EDT2017-05-25 14:04:32 GMT
    4,000 square foot home in west Gulfport catches fire overnight (Photo source: file)4,000 square foot home in west Gulfport catches fire overnight (Photo source: file)

    A large home being renovated in west Gulfport caught fire early Thursday morning. Battalion Chief Chris Henderson with the Gulfport Fire Department says crews were called to the two-story home on Hardy Avenue around 1 a.m. after a neighbor awoke to popping noises and the smell of smoke. Henderson believes renovations to the 4,000 square foot home were almost complete. Fortunately, it took crews only 40 minutes to contain the fire and the home is still salvageable. The owners of the ...

    More >>

    A large home being renovated in west Gulfport caught fire early Thursday morning. Battalion Chief Chris Henderson with the Gulfport Fire Department says crews were called to the two-story home on Hardy Avenue around 1 a.m. after a neighbor awoke to popping noises and the smell of smoke. Henderson believes renovations to the 4,000 square foot home were almost complete. Fortunately, it took crews only 40 minutes to contain the fire and the home is still salvageable. The owners of the ...

    More >>
  • George County battles gang epidemic

    George County battles gang epidemic

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:08 PM EDT2017-05-25 03:08:37 GMT

    Nestled in the 484 square miles of rural George County - largely unseen and hidden from the naked eye - is a gang problem fueled by drugs. 

    More >>

    Nestled in the 484 square miles of rural George County - largely unseen and hidden from the naked eye - is a gang problem fueled by drugs. 

    More >>
  • Island View breaks ground on beach casino

    Island View breaks ground on beach casino

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 10:57 PM EDT2017-05-25 02:57:15 GMT

    Island View Casino Resort broke ground Wednesday on a $75 million expansion south of Hwy. 90.

    More >>

    Island View Casino Resort broke ground Wednesday on a $75 million expansion south of Hwy. 90. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly