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Popps Ferry Bridge Repair Ahead of Schedule
by Keith Burton - GulfCoastNews.com   Filed 11/4/05

Biloxi residents that have felt isolated since Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the Popps Ferry Bridge may see relief close to first of the year.

The contractor working on the Popps Ferry bridge tell GCN that they are currently two weeks ahead of schedule on making repairs to the bridge. And if materials continue to arrive on time, they anticipate that they will get the bridge back in use within 65 days.

Work only began on the bridge early last week. Key LLC, a Madison, Mississippi firm was awarded the $7.65-million contract from the city of the Biloxi with the stipulation that they complete repairs within 100 days.

Under the terms of the contract, which was awarded October 19, Key faces a penalty of $50,000 a day for every day the projects exceeds the 100-day contract, but the firm could receive a bonus of $50,000 for each day under the 100-day timeframe. The bonus would be capped at $500,000. The same day that Key was awarded the contract, Biloxi officials also awarded a $497,000 contract to the Neel-Schaffer, an engineering firm that will oversee the project.

The Popps Ferry Bridge carries over 20,000 vehicles a day when in operation. The two-lane roadway is a key artery for accessing the densely populated housing areas north of the Biloxi peninsula. Since its closure from Katrina August 29th, Biloxi residents have had to either travel to Gulfport to get to their homes across the Bay, or take a circuitous route through the traffic-packed Pass Road and Irish Hill Drive east to the I-110 bridge.

Works crews have already straightened a portion of the northern side of the bridge that was shifted by Katrina's storm surge. Several spans also have to be replaced as well as new motors installed in the draw span, which was flooded by the high waters.

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