New bridge for Popp’s Ferry still years away

The Popp’s Ferry bridge doesn’t open a dozen or so times a day as it did years ago for coal barges, but the 20,000 motorists who travel the bridge on an average day will tell you they cross their fingers each time the span opens.

That’s because the two-lane, low-level bridge, now 39 years old and also a vital hurricane evacuation route, requires increasing repairs to keep it operating dependably.

As a result of those issues, the City of Biloxi years ago began seeking funding to launch the process to replace the aging bridge with a taller, fixed span bridge able to accommodate four lanes of traffic and a walking path. In fact, the new bridge would resemble the Biloxi Bay Bridge.

Here’s an update from Benjamin Smith, an engineer with Brown Mitchell & Alexander, the firm that has been working on the project.

What’s the status of this project?

We are working with MDOT to complete the environmental study, which looks at the potential impacts the project would have on the area: water resources and the neighborhood surrounding the bridge, among other factors. Once MDOT accepts the environmental study, the city will continue to pursue project funding.

How is this work being funded and when can motorists expect to drive on it?

The current work is being funded by the city and MDOT. The entire project is estimated at $120 million, which includes capacity improvements from Pass Road north, including the bridge, to the Margaret Sherry Library. Since the project is not completely funded, it will be a number of years before the bridge is in place.

What about the residents and business owners who live or work north or south of the bridge?

We have identified the properties that will be impacted. We have held public meetings and workshops to inform impacted residents and property owners. As funding becomes available to buy right-of-way, the city would be contacting residents with specific details. 

What’s next in the process?

The next step is finalize the environmental review and complete coordination with resource agencies. Once that is complete and once more funding is secured, property acquisition can begin.
See renderings of the proposed new bridge