Biloxi has its share of road work underway at the moment, with nightly closures of the I-110 highrise and infrastructure work taking place on nearly three dozen thoroughfares, but this weekend is going to be particularly challenging with as many as 20,000 auto enthusiasts in town for the Scrapin’ the Coast car show in west Biloxi, and no less than 15,000 concertgoers expected at the Darius Rucker outdoor concert at Harrah’s in east Biloxi.
All of this will be taking place while I-110 will be closed from Saturday night at 7 p.m. to Sunday morning at 7 a.m. as M.D.O.T. demolishes the Big Ridge Road bridge, just east of I-110 in D’Iberville.
In fact, the closure of I-110 Saturday night has Biloxi Police planning to route those leaving the Rucker concert toward Ocean Springs to avoid congestion from the Scrapin’ the Coast audience.
“Needless to say, it’s an all-hands event for the police department,” Biloxi Police Patrol Commander Maj. Jim Adamo said. “With the bridge work causing the closure of I-110, we’re having to make sure we keep traffic moving and avoid gridlock.”
Adamo said Scrapin’ the Coast organizers have reported a record number of registrations, which, coupled with spectators, should drive as many as 20,000 car enthusiasts to the Coast Coliseum and along U.S. 90, while Harrah’s Gulf Coast has distributed 40,000 tickets for its concert, with at least 15,000 concertgoers expected to show.
Biloxi Police, assisted by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, will be at key areas of west and east Biloxi to help keep traffic moving safely.
“We’re expecting extremely heavy congestion in east Biloxi on Saturday,” Adamo said. “Gates to the concert open at 4 p.m., and that whole event should be over by 9:30 p.m.
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of 8:30 on Saturday night, we’ll begin diverting westbound traffic off U.S. 90 onto Myrtle Street as it comes off the Biloxi Bay Bridge. This will allow us to move concert traffic from Kuhn Street toward the Biloxi Bay Bridge, until we can get the congestion cleared out.”
The detour means motorists leaving the concert and returning to Biloxi will have to travel through Ocean Springs, to I-10, and use the Cedar Lake or Lorraine Road exits.
Adamo said Saturday’s traffic challenge should be nothing new to those who travel Biloxi roadways regularly. This week, for instance, the I-110 is closing to all traffic nightly from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.; infrastructure work has Caillavet Street partially closed at its south end through June 23rd; and road work is disrupting neighborhood thoroughfares along Back Bay and in Eagle Point.
“We have not been having any major problems,” Adamo said.
“Inconveniences mainly. Motorists are following all of the signs, and the work on the I-110 has been occurring during the off hours. It’s having minimal impact, but an impact nonetheless. This weekend will be a real test.
“We’re asking people to be patient, to drive defensively, be courteous and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination.”