Table of Contents

1)    Introduction

2)    Historical Events

3)    Why Cedar Lake to Rodenberg

4)    MDOT Proposal

5)    Concerned Citizens Organize

6)    Citizens Corridor Committee

7)    KAFB VA Center

8)    Cost of MDOT Proposals

9)    The Law

10)  The Baker Study

11)  The Solution


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Additional Information

MDOT Story Archive

The MDOT Shuffle

MDOT- A History of Deception

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Special Report
 - GOING NOWHERE -
BILOXI'S NEXT BRIDGE

MDOT'S Continuing Effort to Mislead Everyone

by Royce Hignight and Keith Burton

INTRODUCTION

Filed 7/31/05 Updated 8/14/05 Updated 12/27/06

    Everyone in Biloxi knows that the city is in desperate need for improvements in traffic flow especially in the western portion of the city and across the Back Bay to the north. This need was vividly demonstrated by hurricane Katrina after Biloxi was cutoff from the mainland.

Recently the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced that it has stopped all plans to build a new East Harrison County Connector to Biloxi from I-10. MDOT had insisted it was going to build a road from the Woolmarket exit on I-10 but now, even that project is off the table.

"We're just in a holding pattern on the East Harrison County connector due to the hurricane and many other issues that are pressing us at this time," said MDOT's Wayne Brown in a December 14, 2006 story in the Sun Herald newspaper. Brown also told the newspaper that he doesn't have a solution to Biloxi's traffic congestion.

But if there was ever a time to build a new roadway, this is it. And it is clear that MDOT's Wayne Brown has chosen to continue his MDOT Shuffle and long tradition of backpedaling on this needed roadway.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, MDOT was supposed to be moving forward on a plan to construct an elevated new north/south connector for the city of Biloxi using plans to connect the road to the Woolmarket exit on I-10. They would call this I-210  The road would cut through subdivisions and ruin Biloxi's Hiller Park before exiting on Highway 90. But even that project was opposed by some Biloxi City councilmen as being too disruptive to the city, especially since it cut through established neighborhoods and was elevated.

MDOT's Southern District Commissioner Wayne Brown told the Sun Herald two years ago that:

"Any big civil road project with construction disrupts people's lives," he said. "But about 98 percent of the people are satisfied" with the proposal.

  That comment was pure propaganda from MDOT. Apparently Wayne Brown believes people in Biloxi have forgotten the broken promises and misleading statements made by his agency over this road. He must have also forgotten the overwhelming negative public response to MDOT's previous proposals. The new I-10 Connector is a road that has been studied and examined thoroughly, yet MDOT continues to ignore what the city truly needs.

  MDOT's plan promoted by some is not in the best interest of the city of Biloxi, as this report will show. The best route is to connect I-10 to the Biloxi peninsula through the Cedar Lake exit. This is the route that numerous studies have shown to be best, and it is much less costly.

  The elevated bridge route proposed by MDOT's minions, and some individuals with special interests in Biloxi, would disrupt numerous subdivisions, create a huge city-dividing eyesore such as what the I-110 link has accomplished, create a wasteland through the heart of Biloxi on two sides of the city, both north of the Back bay and in West Biloxi, and destroy Biloxi's Hiller Park.

  Indeed, MDOT's latest proposal is a "Bridge to Nowhere" as it is hugely expensive, harmful to the city and its residents, and will more than likely never be built. As GCN and Royce Hignight's articles have repeatedly pointed out for years, MDOT's plan is a smokescreen for never building the bridge Biloxi needs and deserves.

  There is a solution, as there has always been a solution, and the only solution, which is the Rodenberg Bridge.

   In the past, the Rodenberg route was opposed by Keesler, but there are changes at the base, especially in light of the post-Katrina housing demolitions at the base near the route of the Rodenberg bridge. Other concerns expressed several years ago by Keesler have largely been addressed. More on that later in this special report.

   Also, adding more traffic to the already overwhelmed Popps Ferry and Pass Road interchange with a bigger Popps Ferry bridge as proposed by Biloxi Mayor A.J.  Holloway before Katrina would increase traffic to Pass Road and is not a wise solution. That issue was thoroughly examined in previous studies and in a comprehensive city planning guide as far back as 1996.

   The earlier studies recommended that the city add a bridge at Rodenberg to Cedar Lake.

   This GCN Special Report will be your guide to a traffic solution for Biloxi that will work. The Hyperlinks on the left panel will take you directly to the different parts of this GCN Special Report. Hyperlinks within the story, marked in blue text, will take readers to additional information.

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