Popp's Ferry Bridge replacement still years away
Biloxi's plan to replace the 40-year-old Popp's Ferry drawbridge is a project that may take many years to kick off.
"We're doing all of the preliminary work that needs to be done. The general design of the bridge, which would be a four-lane bridge with a walking path. It would be similar in appearance to the Biloxi Bay Bridge," said city spokesman Vincent Creel.
The estimated $120 million project has already been in the works for several years, and the people who live nearby are hoping it doesn't take too much longer. "Think about the amount of traffic that goes over that thing every day. It's just intense. It does get stuck on occasion, which is really unfortunate. So having a new bridge would be great," said nearby resident, Tom Swanson.
The two-lane bridge sees an average of 20,000 vehicles a day, and that frequently becomes a traffic headache, according to Donnie Taylor who lives down the street from the bridge. "I think it would be a very good idea if they can build a bridge that can handle more traffic volume. I think if they're going to go to the expense of building a new bridge, it definitely ought to be four lanes instead of two," said Taylor.
Donnie and his wife, Carol, have been hearing talk of the new bridge for years. Carol believes a new bridge would benefit those trying to get to the doctor north of the bay. "Cedar Lake has a huge medical center out there and so many medical appointments for people in this area are at that center and you have to get over the bridge," she said.
Creel said the bridge plays another extremely important role when it comes to storm season. "It is a vital hurricane evacuation route and the thinking there is this bridge is going to have to open 15 to 20 minutes at a time when boats are trying to get up the bay, which means traffic cannot use this evacuation route," he said.
The project is currently still in the environment impact study phase, according to the engineering firm working on it, Brown Mitchell & Alexander.
The study will need to be approved by MDOT before the next step can be taken. According to Creel, the extension of Popp's Ferry Road South to Highway 90 will happen before the bridge is replaced. That extension could be another four or five years from completion.
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