Gilich: A toll bridge too far

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich has notified United Bridge Partners that there’s inadequate support in Biloxi for a new Popp’s Ferry bridge to include a toll, and that instead the city would focus efforts on replacing the bridge’s 40-year-old span.

The mayor, in a letter sent this week to the Denver firm, said the city appreciates the company’s efforts in analyzing Biloxi’s and Harrison County’s transportation needs. The firm had promised to construct and open a new bridge within four years and maintain the bridge. However, drivers would pay a $1 to $1.25 toll per crossing.

“As matters currently stand,” Gilich said, “the city does not feel there is adequate support for a tolling solution.” He said the city would continue to seek funding through the infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed, which became law three months ago. Instead of a new bridge, Gilich said, the city plans to “explore other options that may be available, such as repair and remediation of the existing Popp’s Ferry draw span.”

Preliminary estimate for repair and enhancement of the existing bridge is $15 million, which is a fraction of the $180 million price tag for a new bridge.

Added Gilich: “In the last few weeks, additional funds have become available for repair and remediation, and the city believes time is of the essence for that alternative.”
See the letter to United Bridge Partners