Reporters Ride Over The New Biloxi Bay Bridge

It's the final countdown, with only days until the new Biloxi Bay Bridge opens to two way traffic. On Tuesday, as crews were busy striping installing lighting and putting up signs, MDOT offered the media a chance to see what drivers can expect come Thursday.

Project manager Kelly Castleberry took reporter Danielle Thomas and photographer Bobby Allen for a ride. During the trip, Castleberry described the process of building the Biloxi Bay bridge through his eyes.

"At peak you're looking at 450 to 500 employees,"said Castleberry.

As project manager, it's his job to make sure the hundreds of people working on the Biloxi Bay Bridge do theirs. He says fortunately he gets a lot of help.

"It's a lot of teamwork involved in this job, making decisions based for construction and the safety," said Castleberry.

During the ride across the 1.6 mile bridge from Biloxi to Ocean Springs and then back, Kelly Castleberry reflected on what it's been like to see the project develop.

"It's exhilarating. It's nice to see a project of this size go up as fast as it has."

After many months of driving pilings, laying deck and installing railing, there's an anticipation among workers. In just a couple of days, the public will get to enjoy the benefit of their hard work.

"I believe every worker has the same intention," he said. "That's let get out here. Let's get the work done. Get traffic on the bridge and then get to milestone two which is the full bridge open."

For Castleberry, the project is more than a job. It's also about helping his home get back some of what it lost in Katrina.

"I am from the Gulf Coast. I live on the coast," he said. "Just as many other people, my home and place of work was damaged as well, and being able to get on this project and help get it constructed in a very timely fashion is exciting."

"When the actual public will get to drive on this bridge and help to ease some of the commute time between Ocean Springs to Biloxi, Biloxi to Ocean Springs. I think that's the most critical milestone, is to get people on this bridge and get people going back to work and home in a more timely fashion."

When we asked Castleberry how it felt to ride across the new bridge, only three words were needed.

"It feels good," he said.

The opening ceremony will be near the base of the bridge on the Biloxi side on Thursday at 2 p.m. People are encouraged to park at any casino or the Biloxi Transit Center where they can use the free shuttle.