Tens of thousands of cars a day traveled along Highway 90 in Biloxi before Katrina ravaged the popular thoroughfare. Much of that traffic has been forced onto Pass Road, causing traffic delays and tempers to flare. But relief is on the way.
Police, city leaders, and MDOT officials met in Biloxi Monday to work out the details of reopening the highway.
Contractors and debris haulers have made up the bulk of traffic on Highway 90 since Katrina, but come December 17, part of the Biloxi highway will be open to the public.
"The highway is going to be open from DeBuys Road all the way down to Porter Avenue, to two-way traffic on the southern lanes," Biloxi spokesperson Vincent Creel said.
Vehicles that continue heading east past Porter, will have to take the 1-110 exit and head north. Meanwhile, the section east of I-110 will remain closed.
City officials say they'll consider reopening the section of Highway 90 east of 1-110 later this month when several casinos, including the Isle of Capri and the Palace Casino, are scheduled to reopen.
"Really, there's nothing down there right now. There's just a lot of construction work going on. But again, we're going to be looking to reassess that," Creel said.
In the meantime, the northern lanes on 90 will remain closed until debris is removed and repairs are complete. Workers will also continue to put up utility poles and street lights to make the highway safer when it does open on December 17th.
"Now this doesn't mean it's open for sight-seeing. Traffic needs to keep moving, and it needs to move in an orderly fashion. We're going to have police stationed at the key intersections to make sure traffic keeps moving, and we're going to install stop signs at some of the key intersections.
"Only major intersections along 90 will be accessible, and the beach will remain closed for at least a few more weeks," Creel said.
Creel says casino barges that were tossed across the highway should be removed by the year's end.