Council to hear Popp’s Ferry recommendation

Engineers who have been studying options to improve or replace the Popp’s Ferry bridge in west Biloxi will make a recommendation for the best option to the City Council during a special meeting on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at City Hall.

Representatives of Brown & Mitchell, Neel-Schaffer and Pickering will present results of the environmental assessment, which is a preliminary analysis to identify any issues to be addressed before the construction phase would begin. The groups help public input meetings in March.

The initiative to improve or replace the Popp’s Ferry bridge actually began in March 2004, when Mayor A.J. Holloway lobbied Congress for $2 million in funding, which included cost of the environmental assessment to identify options to improve the flow of traffic.

On average, about 20,000 vehicles a day cross the Popp’s Ferry bridge, but vehicular traffic is interrupted about 10 times a day when the bridge’s span is raised to allow marine traffic to pass. The bridge opens as many as 24 times a day during evacuations, when marine vessels seek safer harborage up river.

“Our goal is to move vehicular and marine traffic efficiently, safer and with less interruptions,” Holloway said. “We want a bridge that’s going to carry us well into the future.”

Among the options being considered: build a new high-rise bridge without a draw; build a new high-rise bridge with a draw; or build a twin span bridge at a higher elevation and raise the elevation on the existing bridge.

Engineers will make their recommendation on Tuesday.

“One important thing that people should know,” Holloway said, “is that we are at least five to seven years away from any construction. We’re following federal guidelines with the goal of having t his bridge federally funded. Tuesday’s presentation brings us one step closer.”

More online

To see the original document presented to Congress to help make the case for improvements at Popp’s Ferry, click here.

To see a document that shows background on the environmental assessment, including potential routes and timelines, click here.

News and notes

Council’s afternoon meeting: During its 1:30 meeting Tuesday afternoon, the City Council will consider more than two dozen issues, including the purchase of nine police cruisers, and funding measures for Coast Transit Authority, Catholic Social Services, and the Biloxi Public School District. Gerald Blessey, the governor‘s Gulf Coast housing director, is also scheduled to make a presentation to the council. To see the complete agenda for both meetings, click here.

November events: To see the city’s monthly calendar of community events,
click here.