Cruisin’ week: Smooth and slow-moving

“I think things went very smooth, considering that the volume of vehicles was probably more than we had ever seen,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says of last week’s Cruisin’ the Coast, an eight-day Coastwide rolling block party that registered nearly 8,000 vehicles from across the country.

“We were able to make some adjustments, such as on Irish Hill Drive, where we overrode the traffic signals,” Gilich said, “but, the fact is, when you see this volume of traffic, you’re going to have slow-moving traffic. But I was well pleased with how things went, and I certainly want to say thank you to those who were so patient in the heavy traffic.”

The Biloxi Police and Fire departments, admitting that calls for service increased significantly, also say the week went well.

“We wrote about half the citations that we usually write for an event this large,” Police Chief John Miller said. “We found that people were really compliant and very respectful, not only with the law but with each other.”

Biggest choke points for traffic: U.S. 90 at Veterans Avenue, and Irish Hill at White Avenue. At the peak of traffic, on Saturday around 4:30 p.m., police closed the Veterans Avenue intersection to left turns and overrode the traffic signal on Irish Hill at White Avenue.

Said Miller: “Like Mayor Gilich has said, when you get such a heavy volume of traffic, you’re going to have slowdowns. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”
See the fire and police numbers for the week


House fire tops off busy week for fire department

A house fire that took three hours to extinguish at an elevated home off Back Bay capped off a week for the Biloxi Fire Department that included a 41 percent increase in emergency medical calls and a 12 percent increase in fire calls.

The house fire aside, “you’re going to see more emergency medical calls when you have more people in town,” Fire Chief Joe Boney said.  “That’s what happened this week, with Cruisin’ the Coast and more people on the road and out in the beautiful weather.”

To handle the traffic-congested roads over the weekend, the fire department had positioned more resources – an additional fire truck and an additional medical unit – in west Biloxi to respond quicker.

“We’ve found that the quicker we can get eyes on an incident, the better we can respond,” Boney said, adding that despite the increase in calls there were no major injuries. The increase in fire calls was primarily due to a half dozen vehicle fires over the week.

The Sunday afternoon house fire, on the other hand, was a challenge for firefighters.

“People are building houses stronger these days,” Boney said, “and there’s certainly nothing wrong with making them better able to withstand hurricanes and more energy efficient. The reality, however, is that some of these things make firefighting more challenging. This particular house was essentially a three-story structure, with double decking on the roof and sprayed-in insulation. The roof was pitched in such a way that we couldn’t stand on it, and the double-decking made it difficult to access. So we had to use aerial access.”
See photos from house fire


I-110 highrise to close late Tuesday night

The I-110 highrise will close to traffic Tuesday night beginning at 11 so that MDOT crews can conduct roadway repairs.

“Work on the drawbridge is expected to take only a few hours to complete,” Transportation Commissioner Tom King said.  “No traffic will be allowed on the bridge to maintain the safety of workers and motorists.”

Barricades will be set up at 1-110 and U.S. 90 and at on-ramps at Division Street and Bayview Avenue.  Police officers will also be in the area to assist with traffic during the repairs.

Repairs are expected to be complete before Wednesday morning commuter traffic, MDOT says.


Churchill Avenue to close for repairs

Churchill Avenue will be closed at Bay Vista Drive in west Biloxi this week to allow city contractors to replace a manhole and make sewer repairs.

Work on the recently overlayed road will begin Tuesday and is expected to be completed Friday.

Contractors will have to repair a sewer line 12 feet below the roadway and also replace the manhole, which has been sinking in the past several weeks.

Motorists are advised to avoid Churchill Avenue during the work.
See the status of roadwork citywide