New bridge at more than 60 percent of pre-Katrina traffic

Traffic on the Biloxi Bay Bridge is more than 60 percent of its pre-Katrina levels despite the bridge offering only two lanes, according to traffic counts taken since the bridge opened less than a month ago.

An average of 21,000 vehicles a day has crossed the bridge since it opened Nov. 1, according to MDOT traffic counts. The highest volume: 23,600 vehicles on Nov. 9. The lowest: 18,700 on Nov. 11.

Before Hurricane Katrina, the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge carried about 33,000 vehicles on an average day.

“We expect to see these numbers continue to climb as more and more out-of-state visitors become aware that this bridge is now partially open,” Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “To be doing 63 percent of the pre-Katrina traffic volume with less than 50 percent of the bridge open is certainly encouraging.”

Said Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown of the numbers: “I’m excited that 21,000 people are not having to make that detour everyday. They’re not having to spend that extra money on higher gas prices, and they’re now able to use that time for something more valuable.”

The full six traffic lanes of the $340 million bridge are scheduled to open in April 2008. To re-visit the Nov. 1 bridge-opening cermeomy, in words and images, click here.

News and notes

I-110 highrise repairs: MDOT reports that northbound traffic on the I-110 highrise will be reduced to one lane from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, when workers will be making right-lane repairs. Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane from noon to 4 p.m. To see the Public Works Department’s daily Traffic Update, click here.

Captains meeting: Organizers of Saturday evening’s Christmas on the Water boat parade have announced that a meeting for captains and late registration will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Biloxi Yacht Club. Registration fee: $25. For more info on the parade and other holiday events, click here.

Flood of info: The Biloxi City Council has called a special meeting for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., when councilmembers are hoping to hear a briefing from FEMA officials on the preliminary flood maps for the city. The meeting, which will be held at City Hall, is open to the public. For background on the issue, click here.