Proposal In Ocean Springs To Turn Front Beach Drive Into Two-Way Traffic

For now, motorists must drive eastbound on Front Beach Drive. in Ocean Springs, during weekends and peak seasons.  The one-way traffic extends from the Biloxi Bay bridge to Washington Ave.

But, people who own large boats say they'd like to see that changed.  Boaters say when they hit Washington Avenue to leave the city, they can't get their boats through downtown Ocean Springs mainly because of low hanging tree limbs.

Kenny Dinero, the owner of Ocean Springs Marine Mart says many boaters have shared concerns with him.

"If they have a festival or something like that, it's a hardship for them to get out because you can't go one-way down the beach unless they call someone, so they just need to address that problem. That's what most boaters have told me."

Right now, a city ordinance requires one-way traffic on weekends and peak seasons, like summertime, to reduce traffic and congestion.  Mayor Connie Moran says there is a proposal to change the ordinance, allowing, two-way traffic for most of the year.

But, the mayor says the change might create more congestion when you consider pedestrians and bikers. Moran says if boaters find themselves running into problems, there are other boat ramps in the city.

"We have two on Fort Bayou, one near Fort Bayou bridge and the Fort Bayou Estate boat ramps and then the one on the Gulf Side of the Gulf Island National Seashore."

Moran also suggests boaters find other routes besides Washington Avenue to avoid low-lying limbs, but Dinero says many run into other problems.

"If they have a lot of traffic, it's too hard to make a turn if you have a car parked here and a car parked there, there's just not enough room to maneuver."

Mayor Moran says the city will begin working on a Front Beach Master Plan at the beginning of the year to assess the situation. Moran says national and local architects and engineers will begin work on the plan, which could take several months, starting in January.

For now, the Board of Alderman has tabled the notion and will not make changes to the ordinance until the plan is completed.