Hurricane Katrina

Bridges over the bays

The U.S. 90 bridges are the pulsing arteries that carry coastal Mississippians to and from - and across - the Bay of St. Louis and Biloxi Bay. Both bridges were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

On Oct. 28, Wayne H. Brown, the Southern District commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Transportation, told a Washington congressional committee that it would take about $400 million to replace them. He is seeking funds to speed rebuilding.

MDOT will open sealed bids for the work in mid-December and hopes traffic will be able to begin using the bridges within 12 to 18 months of the start of construction.

The bridge photographed here stretches over the Bay of St. Louis from the town of that name to Henderson Point. It was dedicated in 1954 and required considerable repairs after Hurricane Camille. The first automobile bridge across the bay was dedicated in 1929 and was a little south of this one.

The other U.S. 90 bridge destroyed in Katrina spans Biloxi Bay between Ocean Springs and Biloxi. It was dedicated in 1962 and replaced a 1930 span, also just a little north.

Locals used ferries to cross the bays before a growing population and an increased dependence on automobiles demanded faster and easier travel. The plans for the new Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge released last week call for six lanes and include a walking-biking area.