All lanes of U.S. 90 in Biloxi set for Dec. 21 re-opening

All lanes of U.S. 90 in Biloxi – from Debuys Road to the tip of Point Cadet – will re-open to traffic on Wednesday, Dec. 21, Mayor A.J. Holloway announced this afternoon, after meeting with the city’s debris removal teams and public safety department heads.

Holloway, who has been pushing since mid-September for the Biloxi section of the major artery to re-open by mid-December, had announced only last week that two lanes of most of the roadway in Biloxi would re-open on Saturday morning at 10.

“As I mentioned the other day, we were going to keep pushing for all of it to be open,” Holloway said. “I’m delighted that we’re going to have it completely re-opened at 10 a.m. on Dec. 21, which is less than a week away. I appreciate the hard work that’s been done by MDOT’s contractors, by Mississippi Power Co. in restoring the majority of the street lighting, and by our debris removal teams to help make this happen.

“And, I also appreciate the motoring public for the patience they’ve shown. I’m proud of how the people of Biloxi have dealt with everything we’ve had to deal with since Aug. 29.”

Holloway also announced this afternoon that the Popp’s Ferry bridge could now re-open to motorists before Christmas, putting the repair project nearly two months ahead of its original schedule.

Meantime, the 10-mile stretch of U.S. 90 in Biloxi, which saw as many as 50,000 vehicles on an average pre-Katrina day, has been used only by emergency vehicles and debris-removal teams since the storm, forcing motorists to travel congested two-lane Irish Hill Drive or four lanes of Pass Road.

Several weeks ago, the Biloxi Police Department began allowing limited access on U.S. 90, allowing weekday afternoon motorists to enter U.S. 90 at Veterans Avenue in west Biloxi but only to travel to the I-110 loop near downtown Biloxi.

“The stretch of U.S. 90 in Biloxi presented challenges that you don’t have on anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Holloway said. “The city had installed about 250 street lights that were all demolished in the storm, along with about two dozen traffic signals. There are more street lights and traffic signals on Biloxi’s part of 90 than anywhere else.

“The debris that we had to move off the top of the roadway was only part of the problem. MDOT has used a fleet of vacuum trucks to suck the debris from the storm drains under the roadway, and in some places the storm drains collapsed and needed to be replaced.”

Last week, Mississippi Power Co. energized nearly 180 of the cobra-style street lights that it had placed on newly erected fiberglass poles between Oak Street in east Biloxi and Debuys Road in west Biloxi. The city, meantime, hopes to arrange for about 60 additional new poles and lighting – in a stretch from Rodenberg Avenue to Beauvoir Road – to be in place in the next several weeks.

MDOT contractors also have replaced the most-needed of the two dozen traffic signals that had been destroyed by the storm. Some traffic signals – such as those at Treasure Bay Casino Resort and at the Broadwater Hotel – are not necessary at this time.

However, with the pending two-lane opening of the highway from DeBuys Road to Porter Avenue and I-110, the city’s debris-removal teams are working to haul off storm debris from the north side of the roadway.