The first two lanes of the new U.S. Highway 90 Biloxi Bay Bridge in Harrison and Jackson counties in Mississippi are scheduled to open Nov. 1.
“A spectacular celebration is planned for the residents of Harrison and Jackson counties as well as the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said MDOT Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown.
“After opening remarks by federal, state and local dignitaries, several bus loads of invited participants and representatives from the surrounding communities will take a short ride to the center of the bridge. Supervisors John McKay and Bobby Eleuterius, mayors, county supervisors and other dignitaries from surrounding areas will participate in the ribbon-tying ceremony. The ceremony will symbolize the restored connection between the communities,” Brown said.
As part of the ribbon-tying ceremony, community band members will perform at the center of the bridge. A wreath toss will honor the memory of those who lost their lives during Hurricane Katrina, and the ceremony will include a blessing of the bridge. The hurricane hunters also will flyover during the ceremony.
Local area first responders followed by a parade of motorcycles will lead the way across the new Biloxi Bay Bridge, followed by the NASCAR Talladega Pace car and a procession of antique cars. Immediately thereafter the bridge will open to regular traffic.
“The opening of the Biloxi Bay Bridge is a great symbol of the renewal and recovery of our beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said MDOT Executive Director Larry L. “Butch” Brown.
“Reconnecting these communities will support the ongoing economic recovery of the area and help restore the coast’s extraordinary quality of life. MDOT has been able to deliver a functional and aesthetically pleasing bridge in a very short time-frame.”
The Biloxi Bay Bridge is being completed under a $338.6 million design-build contract awarded to G. C. Constructors, a joint venture comprised of Massman Construction Co., Kiewit Southern Co. and Traylor Bros. Inc. URS, a consulting engineering firm experienced in design-build projects, is providing project oversight on behalf of MDOT.
When completed in April 2008, the Biloxi Bay Bridge will accommodate six traffic lanes and include a shared biking and pedestrian path. Local artists’ work will be transformed into bronze plaques and will be placed on the bridge railings along the pedestrian walkway. The new bridge structure will provide approximately 95 ft. (29 m) of vertical clearance to accommodate marine traffic.
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