Traffic Flows Smoothly On Biloxi Bridge

An estimated 20-thousand drivers depended on the Popps Ferry bridge before Hurricane Katrina.

And now, a day after its official re-opening to the public after the storm, not even a little rain could keep those drivers from coming back once again.

"People have had to endure a daily detour that would add as much as an hour to their daily commute, and they are really ecstatic about not having to face that inconvenience anymore," said Biloxi spokesperson Vincent Creel.

The bridge had been closed for four months.

Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to the north side of the span, knocking one large section of the bridge out of place.

But city officials say the bridge is back, two months ahead of schedule, better than ever before.

"One of the things that people may notice whenever we do have to raise the draw with the new hydraulics that have been installed, it reduces the time from 6 minutes to five minutes. It used to be a six minute wait every time we had to raise that draw. One minute might not sound like a lot, but when you're out there waiting in traffic, it really is," said Creel.

Creel says the drawbridge has been raised about six times since it opened Friday morning, but it doesn't seem to bother travelers - at least not yet.

"People have really been very thankful. As a matter of fact, when the mayor cut the ribbon on Friday morning, everyone was thanking him. We have a half dozen churches on Popps Ferry Road. I imagine this weekend, they're gonna be thanking a higher authority," said Creel.

There is definitely a lot of progress in the city of Biloxi.

In fact, coming up next week, the openings of the Isle of Capri and the Palace casinos, which Creel says means seeing hundreds of people going back to work.