No school on Tuesday or Wednesday; bridges snarling traffic

Public schools in Biloxi will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and buses will be running late this afternoon because of traffic delays at bridges over the Bay of Biloxi, Superintendent Arthur McMillan announced this afternoon.

Motorists traveling Popp’s Ferry Road and I-110 are encountering delays of 45 minutes or more as draws are opened as long as 15 minutes to allow groups of vessels to pass with each opening.

“We normally have 10 to 20 boats on a weekend day,” bridgetender Margaret Schwartz said, “but on Sunday, we had 106 boats pass during a 12-hour period.”

Traffic on Sunday was primarily large pleasure craft and sailboats. Today, large steel-hulled shrimp boats are dominating the traffic.

The Popp’s Ferry bridge must open its draw for any vessel needing more than 30-feet clearance, while the I-110 bridge must open for vessels needing more than 60 feet.

“I’m trying to wait until we get a group of 15 to 20 boats stacked up right here at the bridge before we open the draw,” Schwartz said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

Meantime, at Biloxi Public Schools, Superintendent McMillan said parents should expect buses to run from 45 mintutes to an hour late.

Besides canceling classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, the school district also announced that all school-related activities planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, such as athletic events or band practices, will be canceled or postponed.

The plan is for classes to resume at their usual times on Thursday, McMillan said.

McMillan made the announcement this afternoon to teachers and key staff members. Parents also were being notified through Connect-Ed telephone messages.

News and notes

Trash pickup: Advanced Disposal reports that residential garbage service has been suspended for Tuesday. Pickup will resume on schedule Friday. Residents should store their trash cans in a secure location before winds increase.

Visitors Center: The Biloxi Visitors Center will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.