BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The City of Biloxi has released its plan to regulate heavily congested traffic April 13-15 during the annual Spring Break weekend.
An ordinance on Tuesday's city council agenda indicates Biloxi will implement a venting plan where there will be one-way traffic between Debuys Road and I-110. This plan would knock Hwy. 90 down to two lanes. The interior traffic lanes will reportedly remain open for the movement of emergency personnel only. The city of Biloxi also plans to shut down several side roads as necessary.
"We have to be able to move an ambulance or a fire truck from one end of the city to the other," Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel explained. "Without this plan, public safety will become an issue."
In 2017, Biloxi residents who live along Highway 90, or work anywhere in the city, dealt with traffic back-ups that sometimes took more than two hours to get out of. Neighborhoods just off of the beach often had cars racing through their communities. Those are issues Biloxi hopes to avoid with this new plan.
Creel noted the highway can only hold a certain number of cars. "We are looking to bring in about 70,000 vehicles. The highway cannot accommodate that amount of traffic. That traffic is primarily on Highway 90, condensed to a two day period."
Creel acknowledged that although the limited space on Highway 90 can be inconvenient, this plan has worked in previous instances. "We base it on what we've seen in the past. We do the same thing for St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras and Cruisin' the Coast," he said.
City officials are seeking more than $250,000 in a budget amendment to fund for increased staffing.
Creel revealed that historically, the sales tax revenue the city will take equals a fraction of the quarter million cost. A large portion of the money will go towards hiring about 80 law enforcement officers and funding overtime pay.
The city also plans to borrow officers from other nearby police departments to avoid staffing deficiencies that have resulted in near gridlock traffic in the past. Additional equipment, such as barricades and cones, will be purchased to assist with traffic control. The equipment will then be re-used for future major events that take place along the Gulf Coast each year.
For maps and more details on the city's Spring Break traffic plan, view the entire agenda item below: