Before the bridges there were ferries, but they weren't cost effective, or fast enough, or big enough, as more people moved to the Mississippi Coast.
   The first bridge taking people to the south end of Biloxi and Ocean Springs was a toll span that opened in 1930. It was dedicated as the nation's longest World War I monument, all 4,200 feet of it. The span's pricetag was $900,000.
   One month after the opening of this bridge, the Rigolets Bridge was opened in Louisiana, and for the first time a ferryless trip could be taken from New Orleans to the Mississippi Coast.
   But two lanes wasn't enough across Biloxi Bay for the growing population and blooming tourism. After 32 years the middle span of the two-lane bridge was removed and the War Memorial Bridge was turned into public fishing piers, with entries from both Biloxi and Ocean Springs, sturdy enough for cars to drive on.
   The War Memorial Bridge was replaced with a four-lane bridge just to its south across Biloxi Bay.
   The Daily Herald reported the new $7 million bridge "eliminated one of the worst bottlenecks along busy Highway 90." At the time, it was the largest bridge ever designed by the Mississippi State Department of Highways.
   This 1.6-mile bridge opened in May 1962 and was repaired seven years later, after Hurricane Camille damaged it in some places. Katrina was much harsher - it virtually destroyed the span.
   A new 85-foot-high bridge is expected to be finished March 2008 at an estimated cost of $275 million.
- KAT BERGERON