Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran says she won't take MDOT to court if it goes forward with plans for a six lane bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs. But Moran is still hoping MDOT will reconsider and opt for a smaller bridge.
Mayor Moran says vehicle traffic before the storm doesn't justify a new six lane bridge. She made that point to MDOT officials Tuesday afternoon and arrived armed with studies from independent engineers.
"All three of those traffic engineers, one who is licensed here in Mississippi, say that the numbers do not justify a six lane... Only a 4-lane bridge is justified by the numbers," Moran said.
The engineers conducted their own traffic and growth studies of the area. Mayor Moran reviewed some of their findings at the meeting.
"One thing that is quite astonishing, that in the year 2004 is the exact same traffic count as was 30 years ago in 1974. In 1984, the traffic count had dropped considerably on the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge, mainly because at that time the 1-110 corridor was open."
The contract for rebuilding the bridge is expected to be awarded at the end of the month. Since the first meetings after Katrina, Mayor Moran has urged MDOT to take a closer look.
"Those are some of the discrepancies we have. That and the fact that the MDOT analysis did not consider any of the new potential modes of transit. It did not consider an increase of traffic of existing corridors."
Mayor Moran left the meeting encouraged that MDOT would review the data she brought to their attention.
WLOX News contacted Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown just after Mayor Moran's news conference. Brown said, once again, that MDOT is moving forward with its six lane bridge plan.
MDOT hopes to have a new bridge complete by Thanksgiving of 2007.