Traffic cones in place; plan is in the offing

Biloxi Public Works crews began positioning traffic cones between left and right lanes on U.S. 90 today, signaling the implementation of the Spring Break traffic plan, which reserves the left lane for emergency vehicles.

Although the cones are in place now, police don’t expect to prohibit public use of the left lane until Friday morning and no later than Friday at noon. 
See a map of the traffic plan


City Desk: The last Spring Break preview

Police Major Chris DeBack, public information officer in the Biloxi Police Department, drops by this week’s City Desk podcast for last-minute thoughts and advice regarding the Spring Break traffic plan. The podcast was recorded this morning at City Hall, about 24 hours before the traffic plan was expected to be implemented. 
Listen to the program


A word about ‘passes’

For several years, residents in neighborhoods immediately west of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum – on Briarfield, Pine Grove and neighboring streets accessible only by U.S. 90 — have been given “passes” to help access their homes by driving through a gate at the north entrance of the Coast Coliseum parking lot.

“The program has worked well, primarily because it’s for this isolated area where people have no other way to access their homes,” Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said.  “This year, more people have found out about these ‘passes,’ and people have the idea that these ‘passes’ can help them get to work and to other places.

“The fact is, widespread use of any passes would compromise the traffic plan. There are no passes to use the emergency lane. There are no passes to get around barricades. Our officers are going to try to accommodate people where and when they can, but people need to understand this: You must follow directions of an officer. When he or she tells you to keep moving, then keep moving.

“When we are venting traffic, it is imperative that there be no stopping, no turning, and no deviation from what the officer is telling you.

“We certainly apologize for any misunderstanding on this, and we ask people to please be patient, give yourself plenty of travel time, and follow the directions of the officer along the roadside.”
Video: Tips for this weekend and a Q&A


Weather could be a factor this weekend

The National Weather Service is predicting a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday, with a “slight to enhanced risk” of severe thunderstorms associated with a slow-moving cold front and squall line. The result could be damaging wind gusts, tornadoes, heavy rainfall with localized flooding and frequent lightning.

Forecasters also say there’s a 20 percent chance of rain for Friday after 1 p.m. and a chance of thunderstorms may be in the area early Saturday, increasing to a certainty throughout the day.

Temperatures on Friday will range in the 70s. Saturday will see highs in the mid-70s and lows in 50s. On Sunday, highs are predicted to be in the mid-60s.
See the extended forecast 


News and notes: Trash pickup, Keesler gate, drones, B-Alert

U.S. 90 trash pickup:  Trash, garbage and recycling pick up on U.S. 90 will be earlier than usual on Friday morning, so crews can avoid Spring Break traffic. The Harrison County Utility Authority advises residents to place carts and trash curbside Thursday night.

Keesler gate closure: Keesler’s White Avenue gate closes at 6 this evening and will remain closed until Monday at 5 a.m. because of expected Spring Break traffic on U.S. 90. The Keesler Visitors Center, which is at the White Avenue gate, will move operations to the Meadows Road gate, which will be open from Thursday morning through Monday at 5:30 p.m. The Pass Road gate will maintain its normal hours.

No-drone zone:  Biloxi Police remain under a standing request from the FAA to be on the lookout for unauthorized drones and question operators, especially during Spring Break. Said Police Chief John Miller: “There are regulations involving the use of drones, which the FAA considers aircraft. And they’ve notified us that it’s our responsibility to take appropriate action in the interest of public safety.” For background on the drone issue, click here.

B-Alert: Several advisories have been transmitted to the growing Spring Break audience in the city’s new B-Alert program. Have you signed up? On your cell phone, text SPBK to 888777. To learn more about B-Alert, click here.