Diamondhead bridge work stirs hurricane evacuation concerns

Diamondhead bridge work stirs hurricane evacuation concerns

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - There are new concerns about the bridge replacement project underway on Kapalama Dr. in Diamondhead.

Some residents fear with the bridge closed there is only one way out of the community. They say it's a nightmare waiting to happen if a hurricane comes our way.

A new concrete bridge has already been set in place on Kapalama Dr., but until it's substantially finished, the road will be closed, cutting off the only other entrance into Diamondhead.

"We just felt like with Diamondhead only having one exit, which is Interstate 10, especially during hurricane season, if there is an accident on I-10 or anything else, it would be chaotic trying to get out of Diamondhead," said resident Dane Fallo.

Fallo said hurricane season is already off to a busy start, and if the project is delayed for any reason, residents could be looking at a traffic nightmare if evacuation becomes necessary.

"It would be bad," said Fallo.

The good news is the bridge work is scheduled to take 30 days. Hancock County supervisors have offered the contractor a $19,000 bonus to complete the project within 21 days.

Six days into the work nearby business owners are feeling the pinch.

"We've had a bit of an impact. We've had some nights it's 20 percent or 40 percent. It depends. We've been very fortunate. We've got a really loyal customer base," said Stacia Odell, manager of Uncle Joe's Pizza and Wings.

"It's impacted us I wouldn't say greatly, but significantly. We're down 20 to 40 percent over all. The slow nights are really slow. The busier nights on the weekends seems to be holding close to normal, but I think we will survive," explained Greg Framnes, owner of Gros Bar.

Framnes and other nearby business owners have their fingers crossed that the contractor meets his bonus completion deadline.

Residents and business owners hoped a temporary bridge would have been built for traffic while the work was underway, but county supervisors said that would have nearly doubled the price of the $400,000 bridge.

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