Construction Will Create Traffic Nightmare At Coliseum Events - - The News for South Mississippi

Construction Will Create Traffic Nightmare At Coliseum Events

It was Charles Dickens who wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Bill Holmes and the Mississippi Coast Coliseum staff have adopted that quote, as they prepare their facility for a very hectic week.

When you combine this week's coliseum schedule with the Highway 90 construction project, you get quite a mess. There was a hockey game Tuesday. A Kid Rock concert Wednesday. Hockey again Thursday and Friday. And a Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban concert on Saturday. Those five events will bring nearly 30,000 people, and probably just as many traffic headaches, to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

"It's painful," coliseum director Bill Holmes admitted. "And then it's also a happy time."

Holmes is happy these days because his coliseum is filling up with large events again. The pain he referred to was the construction mess on and around the venue.

"We're trying to alert all of our patrons to please come early," he said.

The immediate concern is this Saturday night. Ten thousand people will be attending the Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban concert. With Highway 90 under construction, and with 25 percent of the coliseum's parking area torn up, Holmes wants local ticket holders to come to the sold out show as early as possible, to try and limit the traffic congestion.

"It's very important that the patrons have a good experience, not wait in that traffic bumper to bumper for an hour and a half and get into a show," said Holmes.

Signs will lead concert goers to a satellite parking lot at the old Broadwater golf course. The Revelay condominium property will also become coliseum parking. And security will detour some cars to the coliseum's back parking lot via Pine Grove Avenue.

Margaret McMahon lives on Pine Grove, in the shadow of the coliseum.

"I'll be inside. So it won't bother me," she said.

Holmes realizes Saturday night in particular will be very inconvenient for everybody visiting the coliseum. But for his facility, the short term pain will produce long term gains.

"It isn't a mess. It's progress," he said. "It's a jewel that's coming out of the ground. And soon to be a diamond."

by Brad Kessie

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