Christmas on Water; traffic update; NY Times, casino times

The promoter of this weekend’s Christmas on the Water boat parade, announced today that the event has been pushed back one day – to Sunday at 6 p.m. off the waterfront between the Biloxi Lighthouse and Point Cadet Marina.

Rusty David made the change because of forecasts for inclement weather on Saturday night.

The parade, which is marking its 20th year, is expected to have from 25 to 30 decorated vessels, about half of those normally involved. A fireworks display will be held after the parade.

Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan, meantime, asks that those planning to witness the parade Sunday evening remember that U.S. 90 from Porter Ave eastward is closed, as is the entire sand beach.

Said Dunagan: “Those planning to attend this event should find legal parking spaces along Howard Avenue in east Biloxi, make sure not to block the roadway or private property, and be careful as they walk down to the highway. And since the highway and the beach are off limits to the public, spectators need to view the parade from the north side of the highway.”

David has arranged for the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department to help patrol the area during the parade.

Reminders on U.S. 90, Popp’s Ferry status

U.S. 90: Motorists should remember that U.S. 90 in Biloxi – from DeBuys Road to Porter Avenue — will open to two-way traffic Saturday morning at 10. Stop signs have been erected at key access intersections – DeBuys Road, Beauvoir Road, Veterans Avenue, Rodenberg Avenue, Porter Avenue, and, for westbound traffic, at I-110.

Also, motorists traveling south on I-110 will be allowed access to U.S. 90 for westbound traffic only.

The highway has a 45 mph speed limit, and no parking or intermittent stopping will be allowed. In fact, city Public Works crews have barricaded parking bays in the areas between DeBuys Road and I-110, since the boardwalk was destroyed by the storm.

The city’s storm debris removal crews will be hauling debris from the north side of the highway between now and Wednesday morning at 10, which is when Mayor A.J. Holloway has ordered the re-opening of all lanes of U.S. 90 in Biloxi – from DeBuys Road all the way to the tip of the peninsula at Point Cadet.

At that time, traffic signals will be operating at key intersections, and the majority of the nearly 250 street lights will be operational.

“People need to remember that this highway is going to be open and safe, but it’s still far from its pre-Katrina condition,” Dunagan said.

Popp’s Ferry bridge: Mayor A.J. Holloway says that the Popp’s Ferry bridge repair work is on track for a Friday, Dec. 23 opening. “If it stays on the current track, if the weather doesn’t become a factor, and the contractor doesn’t run into any issues between now and then, it looks like we should be in a position to re-open the bridge to traffic before noon on Dec. 23.”

News and notes

Fit to print: The New York Times, which has dispatched several of its reporters to Biloxi since Aug. 29, had two staffers working on separate Biloxi stories in the past several days. The first article, which Mayor A.J. Holloway parlayed into a front page “Quote of the Day” in the Times, focused on the success of the city’s initial recovery efforts and significance of the pending re-opening of three casino resorts in Biloxi. To read this story, click here.. A second NYT story, to be published shortly, will review how Biloxi and other cities are overseeing storm-debris removal efforts.

Speaking of casino resorts: An update of the planned re-openings for Biloxi casino resorts, along with links to the first three to resume business, is now on the city web site. To read the report, click here.