BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Highway 90 resurfacing planbegan in Bay St. Louis last summer.
Now, it is moving east into Biloxi. While the work is necessary, it’s also creating traffic issues.
The construction zone at White Avenue is the latest example of what has caused most of the delay, lots of drainage problems.
Now, it’s Biloxi’s turn to deal with the mess.
“We knew the MDOT work was coming. They announced it last August. Well, it has now arrived,” said Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel.
Before any new asphalt goes down, drainage repairs must be made, and it has created some traffic nightmares.
“People from downtown Biloxi had 30 minutes to travel about four blocks,” Creel said.
What has made it even more difficult is construction on another east-west corridor: Irish Hill. The timing during peak tourist season just makes it more frustrating.
“There’s not a lot anybody can do about this other than be patient. It’s major work. It has to be done, and they’re trying to do it as quickly as they can, but we’re down to a third of our capacity on moving west-bound traffic south of Keesler,” Creel said.
This project near White Avenue will be finished by Friday, but then there will be four subsequent projects just like this, each lasting three days. That could run in to Scrapin’ the Coast.
On top of that, Vincent Creel said the city will implement its traffic plan.
“The police department is trying to coordinate that with MDOT right now. You can’t very well close one lane if MDOT’s already got one closed,” he said.
The next drainage projects will be at Acacia Drive, Beauvoir Road and Rodenburg Avenue at the front yard of White Pillars restaurant.
Owner Austin Sumrall said he was aware years ago of the project.
“I think once it’s all fixed that it should be helpful. Obviously, infrastructure is important for cities, but we just hope this is your opportunity to come out anyway,” Sumrall said. “Come see us. Come have dinner. Come have lunch. Come eat brunch, and don’t be deterred by any extra traffic.”
Milton Segarra, CEO of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, said this Highway 90 work is key to tourism, but he wants to take it to a higher level.
“We’re seriously considering to see how we can help, using BP money or some other sources, to make sure we take U.S. 90 and become the iconic experience development that we need for the Coast,” Segarra said.
This is the third stage of the $16 million Highway 90 repaving project, and MDOT officials tell us it is scheduled to be finished by early fall of this year.