Biloxi Bridge Closure Could Bring More Traffic Later - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/16/05

Biloxi Bridge Closure Could Bring More Traffic Later

Upgrades being made to a Biloxi bridge now could mean a heavier traffic flow later.

More than a year ago the city stopped heavy trucks from using Cedar Lake bridge because of safety concerns. As of Monday, no on can drive over the bridge because it's closed for repairs.

For the next month, drivers will have to give up their shortcut.

The sign in the fishing camp parking lot says "No Turn Around", but on Monday, many of the drivers along Cedar Lake road had no choice but to do just that.

The bridge is closed for repairs. Some people didn't know, others had forgotten.

"Habit," said James Taylor. "I was going to Biloxi and I just always go out that way. You know when you old get you get forgetful I guess."

Leroy and Katherine Yennie had the same experience.

"I forgot," said Leroy.

"We only read it about ten times," said his wife.

Crews say the work on the Cedar Lake bridge will.fix current problems and help prevent future headaches.

"Corrosion deteriorates the steel and when the steel gets deteriorated it's not going to stay together too long," said contractor Curtis McDaniel. "Our job is to come in and remove the corrosion and apply a protective coating system that will keep the corrosion from reappearing."

McDaniel says the work may open the bridge to more traffic.

"I'm sure once they replace the structure of the bridge, it's going change the integrity of the bridge some," he said. "I guess the city will make the decision as to the weight limit at that point."

Motorists say they like that idea.

Phillip Fontes often drives cross the bridge.

"I don't have a big vehicle, so it doesn't scare me to ride on it. I know it says no large vehicles or large trucks. It would make probably a lot more convenience in the future."

With only about 10 minutes added to their travel time, the complaints were few with one exception.

"Just messed up my fishing," said Taylor. "I used to fish under it all the time."

Biloxi is paying $684,000 for upgrades to the Cedar Lake Bridge. Boat traffic won't be impacted by the repairs.

by Danielle Thomas

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