JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation began a two day project Wednesday morning in Jackson County to install lights underneath the Pascagoula Bridge. Crews had to temporarily close one lane of traffic on the eastbound side for most of the day to do the work, and that caused a traffic headache for many drivers.
The midday rush on Interstate 10 near the Pascagoula Bridge was more like a midday traffic mess for drivers.
"It was pretty bad for just about four miles back. Lots of traffic and not good," a driver said.
The road congestion even slowed down some motorists' travel plans as they headed out of state.
"Nothing to do but sit there and wait. I was hoping to be in Pensacola for one o'clock, and I don't think I am going to make it," another driver said.
MDOT officials shut down the right lane on the bridge from 9am to 3pm Wednesday to install navigation lights for marine traffic. They said those hours were the best time to do the work.
"Well, we have to do it during the day because the navigation lights are solar powered. Anytime you shutdown an interstate, especially a major thoroughfare like I-10, you can expect a little bit of congestion; 50,000 cars pass over this bridge daily," MDOT project engineer Michael Harter said.
There were some drivers who didn't seem to mind the traffic back up. In fact, they pulled over to wait it out.
"Actually, I saw the rest area, so I went to sleep. I took an hour off and went to sleep for awhile," a motorist said.
More traffic delays are expected Thursday. MDOT crews plan to switch sides and close one lane on the west side of the bridge to finish the project.
"That is right, the equipment has to be in that outside lane and we have to create a buffer zone for the equipment and our workers and traffic just for safety precautions," Harter said.
As work continues on the busy bridge, Harter is advising people slow down and please pay attention to the road warning signs.
"We don't expect to have any accidents and we don't want any."
MDOT's work on the west side of the bridge will take place Thursday 9am-3pm.