D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - In D'Iberville, there's a lot of excitement for those who had a hand in building the new Popp's Ferry Bridge.
Leaders say the new bridge was built to connect D'Iberville with a new wave of economic growth worth hundreds of millions of dollars. On Thursday, drivers were able to cross it for the very first time.
"For the last 14 months we've all had to go around the world to get to where we were going," said Reverend James King of Christian Assembly Church. "I believe this brings more people into the area because it's less complicated. It's easier access, Anytime people can get into an area and it's smooth sailing it's a bright future."
Unlike the previous structure, Big Ridge Road, the new bridge is five lane and has on and off ramps giving access to I-110.
"It's human nature when we're waiting in traffic we get aggravated," said Mayor Rusty Quave. "Some people will turn around and go back and say I'll come back the next day. This is going to allow people to get in and out of here a whole lot quicker."
Local leaders say the bridge was designed knowing a growth spurt for this area is on the horizon.
"Because this bridge right here will be full of traffic from people all over the southern United States coming to D'Iberville, Mississippi to eat and to shop and gaming and hotels," noted Harrison County Supervisor Windy Swetman.
MDOT officials said while five lanes is more than enough for the amount of traffic now, they're planning ahead.
"What we try to do is get there before the need really occurs. You've got to think for building for tomorrow. Not just for today," said Southern District Commissioner Tom King.
MDOT officials say with the completion of the bridge, they are done with all the major components of the traffic upgrades around I-10 and I-110. Drivers can expect to see workers making repairs on their punch list during the next month. King says the entire project including the bridge, diverging diamond interchange and other upgrades in the area, had a price tag of $50 million.
"Right now we're looking about $600 million worth of economic development that's going to occur and a lot of it has been holding because of this bridge right here," said Mayor Quave. "I think now that they see how the traffic is going to be moving on and off of this interstate so well, it's going to encourage them to go ahead and start their projects."