It’s almost “go time” for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Biloxi.
The Blues Over Biloxi shows are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22. and rehearsals will be held Thursday and Friday.
With thousands of spectators expected on the Great Lawn at Harrah’s Gulf Coast, the central viewing spot for the air show, as well as at other spots along U.S. 90 in Biloxi, locals and visitors alike can expect some traffic delays and issues.
Here’s what you need to know:
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Taking the interstate? Use different exits
If you’ve ever attended a Biloxi Shuckers game on a Saturday evening and you decided to take Interstate 110 to the beach using the “Downtown Biloxi” exit, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten stuck in the “loop” and spent some time at an almost standstill over the Mississippi Sound.
Biloxi police Maj. Chris De Back said to plan ahead if you are going to use I-110 to get to the air show.
“With the construction and everything that’s going on in front of the Beau Rivage, traffic can get backed up on that exit pretty quickly and the air show will only add to the congestion,” De Back said. “We’re asking people going to the air show to use some different exits to get to their viewing spots.”
De Back said Exit 50 in Ocean Springs off of Interstate 10 will get you to your destination. Exit 50 will take drivers to Highway 609 and on to U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs.
Another option, according to De Back is taking the Division Street or Bayview Street exits off of I-110. Both of the exits will allow you to travel south toward U.S. 90.
A third option off of Interstate 10 is to take the Cedar Lake Road exit (Coliseum exit) and come down Popp’s Ferry and then on to Pass Road. On Pass Road, visitors can go south on Beauvoir and then head east on Highway 90 at the beach.
With Harrah’s being the prime spot for viewing the air show, De Back said to expect some congestion along U.S. 90 in Biloxi, especially between Porter Avenue and the Biloxi Bay Bridge.
“We will have officers at intersections and cross roads on U.S. 90 starting at 7 a.m. on the days of the practice and the shows,” he said. “They will monitor the traffic and when we need to, we will implement placing all of the traffic lights between Porter Avenue and the Biloxi Bay Bridge on the flashing mode to help keep the traffic flowing east and west and north for parking.”
De Back said only the southern-most eastbound lane of U.S. 90 will be closed for emergency vehicles.
“We’re going to use that lane, which is primarily a right-turn lane for emergency vehicles, but we will be accommodating people that want to get to the Golden Nugget Casino and Margaritaville,” he said.
But getting to the show is only half of the problem.
“We expect the biggest traffic issues to be at the end of the air shows when everyone is trying to leave at one time,” De Back said. “We will try to clear traffic as fast and safely as we can and once it’s safe, we will keep it open to normal lights.”
To receive traffic updates during the air show, text BILOXI to 888777.
Where do I park?
Unless your are parking at Harrah’s, which has a limited amount of parking spaces, De Back said you will more than likely be parking north of the beach.
“Use some common sense when parking,” he said. “If you’re parking on the street, make sure it’s a legal parking spot, don’t park on the side of the road or in the middle of the streets and don’t park on the bridge and do not block sidewalks or medians. Also, if a place is roped off, we ask that you respect private property and do not park there, as well.”
De Back said the city has a few grass lots that it will be open to parking for the air show. Biloxi may update the parking information with public parking options later in the week.
“We’re getting some signs that help show where parking areas are,” he said.
Can I watch the show from my boat?
Another way to see the Blue Angles fly over the Coast is on the water.
But there are some restrictions.
“There will be a perimeter set up around Deer Island,” Charmaine Schmermund, public affairs director for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources said. “This will be patrolled by DMR and the U.S. Coast Guard and no boats will be allowed in the perimeter.”
Schmermund said no boats will be allowed to anchor at Deer Island within the perimeter, nor will parking be allowed in the channel for the event.
“All boats are going to have to go idle in the channel from the Golden Nugget and the Hard Rock on the practice and show days,” she said.
Air show tips
- Do not block traffic. If an officer is directing traffic, follow instructions.
- Obey posted speed limits and traffic signs.
- Park only in marked areas, no parking in the median or on sidewalks. Respect private property.
- No riding on tailgates, bumpers, roofs or hoods of vehicles.
- No glass containers; no underage drinking allowed.
- No animals allowed in any event area.
- No littering.
- Amplified sound is allowed only by permit.
- For safety, only cross roadways at designated locations such as a corner or crosswalk.
- Do not obstruct boardwalks or sidewalks; pedestrians only.
- Do not move or go around officially placed barricades.
- All service drives on U.S. 90 close at 10 p.m. unless posted otherwise. Vehicles not removed are subject to being towed.
- A helmet must be worn by all operators and passengers on a motorcycle.
- ATVs, golf carts, or any other unlicensed vehicle are not allowed on the roadway, on the beach, or on sidewalks or boardwalks.
- No drones, kites or parasailing in event area.
- No camping on the beach.
Courtesy city of Biloxi