Holloway: Use the repair plan that worked before — but even quicker

Mayor A.J. Holloway said he wants to use the same procedure he used after Hurricane Katrina to repair the Popp’s Ferry bridge, a scenario where the city partnered with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and used federal funds to get the bridge up and running less than four months after the storm.

“I’m hoping that we can get it done much quicker than that,” Holloway said. “By partnering with MDOT and using Federal Highway Administration emergency funds, which is the same thing we did after the storm, we can hit the ground running quickly.”

As he surveyed the bridge from the Biloxi Fire Department’s fire boat this morning, Holloway was also speaking with MDOT Executive Director Larry “Butch” Brown.

“We know the importance of this bridge,” Brown said later. “We know it’s important for the 20,000-plus motorists who use it everyday. We also realize that hurricane season is just around the corner, and this is an important evacuation route. After speaking with the mayor, we’re ready to get the ball rolling on securing the necessary federal funding.”

This afternoon, Holloway also met with structural engineers, some of whom helped design the repairs to the bridge after Katrina. That $8.3 million project, which included a million-dollar performance bonus for the contractor, was finished less than four months after the storm.

Said Holloway: “Our past successful partnership with MDOT rebuilt the Popp’s Ferry bridge in record time, and we hope to build on that past progress.”

Background on Popp’s Ferry bridge

The city for years has worked on an initiative to replace the Popp’s Ferry bridge, a two-lane structure that stands 32-feet above the water and must open at least 10 times a day for marine traffic.

To see background on the issue, as presented in a presentation that Mayor Holloway made to the state’s Washington delegation in 2004, click here.