Mayor Pushes Ahead With Bridge Money

Passing boats force the Popp's Ferry Bridge to go up a few times a day. Biloxi's mayor cringes each time.

"Every time it goes up, we keep our fingers crossed that it comes back down," says Mayor A.J. Holloway.

He says that's exactly why he's pushing so hard for another bridge whether it be a new one, or a sister structure alongside the one now in place.

"I don't believe we'll be able to get high enough where all the boats can go under because of the span that we have, but at least we could get it where the tugboats come underneath it and smaller boats and we don't have to open it for everything."

Before any construction starts, the city needs an environmental impact and design study. The mayor says the $7 million already okayed by Congress will cover that.

"They're not going to fund it all at one time. It'll be over a period of years. I think that next year, year after next, if we get all the engineering and everything else done, we can probably get $10 million and then maybe $10 million more."

Holloway is grateful for the money, he just wishes it would come a bit faster.

"That's the way government works. We're just lucky we're getting what we're getting."

If the city gets the estimated $45 million, the mayor predicts cars will drive across a better bridge within seven years.

Construction on the Popp's Ferry Bridge started in 1976. The bridge opened in 1979.