A Transportation Vision for the Mississippi
Hurricane Katrina did untold damage to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, not just
to the transportation network (with two major bridges on US 90 completely out of
commission), but to people's homes, businesses, and lives. As the Coast
begins the lengthy task of cleanup and rebuilding, various groups and
individuals have put forth their proposals for rebuilding the Coast's
This set of pages details out my vision for rebuilding and improving the
transportation system of the three Mississippi Gulf Coast counties plus southern
Pearl River County. My vision is a mix of various proposals, including
some studies that were underway prior to the hurricane, the recommendations of
the Governor's Renewal Forum, and some of my own ideas.
Some Thoughts on Transportation Policy
There are three goals behind my vision: improve system connectivity and
capacity, multimodal connections, and implementation of a transit system in the
core urban areas. There are a number of major projects or corridors that
will be involved with this, as listed below:
- CSX corridor relocation
- I-10 expansion
- US 90 relocation in Harrison County
- Construction of a rail transit system along the Coast (either LRT or
- US 49 freeway upgrade (some on new location)
- Port of Gulfport reconstruction
As not all of the above projects could be constructed simultaneously, I have
broken down the main projects and objectives of my vision into 4 phases, plus an
additional listing of projects that could be completed and accomplished during
any phase. The phases, and their relevant projects, are listed below:
- The Port of Gulfport should be reconstructed immediately in order to
restore this valuable asset to full operation.
- Relocate the CSX rail tracks north away from the Coast. Feasibility
and environmental studies for this undertaking were begun in the early 2000s,
well before the hurricane hit and made relocation of the tracks more of a
priority. The new rail corridor should begin near Ansley, swing north to
near Kiln, then eastward, staying north of the Coast urban boundary before
returning to the existing rail line near the MS/AL state line. My
suggested corridor is "Corridor 2" from the relocation studies. The
corridor should be as grade-separated from vehicle and pedestrian traffic as
is possible, and should be wide enough to accommodate 2 freight rail tracks, 2
high-speed passenger rail tracks, a service road, and appropriate buffers.
Through central Harrison County, the rail corridor could serve as an urban
boundary and a buffer between rural area to the north and Coast urbanization
to the south. To serve Amtrak, three passenger rail stations are
suggested, one each where the corridor crosses US 90 west of Waveland, US 49
north of Lyman, and MS 63 north of Moss Point. To improve passenger rail
speed, the US 90 and MS 63 stations could be dropped but the US 49 station
should be built regardless.
- Replace the US 90 bridge across St. Louis Bay as proposed, with a 4-lane
high bridge span plus shoulders and a bike/ped path.
- Build a "temporary" 2-lane bridge span across Biloxi Bay, to serve US 90
traffic until a more permanent solution is constructed in my "Phase 2".
- With the CSX tracks relocated to the north, the existing rail corridor
becomes available for other uses. My vision is to use the existing
corridor within Harrison County to construct a new-location route for US 90.
This corridor is envisioned as an urban-style boulevard with partial control
of access, meaning access is via public at-grade intersections only...no
private access points are allowed. Assuming a 15 foot buffer on each
side, the corridor will be 200 feet wide, although the corridor could be
narrowed to a 150 foot width if needed for environmental or right-of-way
reasons. This width is sufficient for a 4-to-6-lane roadway, turn lanes,
a 16-ft landscaped median, a 10-ft right shoulder, a 10-ft bike/ped path, a
dual-track LRT line, and 15-ft landscaped buffers on each side. The
relocated US 90 should be 4 lanes west of the proposed US 49/MS 601 freeway,
and due to higher population and traffic volumes should be 6 lanes east of US
49. The speed limit should be no higher than 45 MPH, and should be 35 or
40 MPH within the core areas of Gulfport and Biloxi. On the west side,
the relocated US 90 should tie into the existing US 90 alignment approaching
the Bay St Louis Bridge near Bayview St. On the east side, relocated US
90 will tie into a new Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge as I propose below.
Bike/pedestrian overpasses should be built over relocated US 90 and the Coast
LRT line where needed and applicable.
- The LRT line running along relocated US 90 should run the full width of
Harrison County with stations as proposed on my
Coast LRT Line page. Logical termini for this phase would be Pass
Christian on the west and downtown Ocean Springs on the east.
- My vision for a new Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge is a meshing of MDOT's
proposal, the New Urbanists proposal, the aesthetics that Mayor Moran of Ocean
Springs proposes, plus a healthy design in order to minimize right-of-way
needs on the Ocean Springs side. The span should be located along the
alignment of the existing CSX rail bridge across Biloxi Bay, tying my
relocated US 90 vision for Harrison County into the existing US 90 alignment
through Ocean Springs. The span should be a high-rise to eliminate the
need for drawspan openings. Though there is opposition to a wide span
such as what MDOT currently proposes, I feel that 6 lanes are justified.
The span should carry 6 lanes of traffic, a 10-ft right shoulder on each side
(for emergencies), and a dual-track LRT line. A bike/ped path is
optional, but not necessary since one of my proposals for "Phase 3" turns the
"temporary span" into a bike/ped span. My proposed bridge width is 132
feet without a bike/ped path, or 144 feet with a bike/ped path.
- With completion of a "permanent" Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge along the CSX
rail alignment, the "temporary" bridge constructed in Phase 1 should be
converted into a bicycle/pedestrian bridge.
- With completion of a relocated US 90, the existing US 90 along the beach
should be reconstructed into 2 or 4 lane parkway with a boardwalk, bike/ped
paths, and parking bays.
- The Coast LRT line proposed in "Phase 2" should be extended west to
Waveland and east to Moss Point, utilizing the existing CSX corridor.
- A new-location US 49 freeway should be built to the west of the existing
US 49 alignment. MDOT has done environmental studies on such a route
between the Port of Gulfport and I-10, using a MS 601 route designation, but
has concepts for extending the freeway to existing US 49 north of Lyman.
The new freeway should be built along the approved (south of I-10) and
proposed (north of I-10) corridor, generally located between existing US 49
and Canal Rd. The freeway should begin as 4 lanes coming out of the Port
of Gulfport, widen to 6 lanes beginning at relocated US 90 (from "Phase 2"),
then drop back to 4 lanes at MS 53. A half-interchange to/from the north
should be built at relocated US 90. Full interchanges should be built at
28th St, I-10, a western extension of Dedeaux Rd (at/near Orange Grove Rd),
and MS 53.
- With a new-location US 49 freeway taking a large chunk of traffic off of
existing US 49, the existing corridor can then be reconstructed. My
vision is to replace the existing 6-lane arterial with a 4-lane urban
boulevard, with partial access control where possible, a speed limit no higher
than 45 MPH, and include an LRT line along the east side of the roadway,
connecting my proposed Coast Line (along relocated US 90) with Gulfport-Biloxi
Regional Airport and the passenger rail station located along the relocated
CSX rail line. The LRT line will be within the corridor right-of-way in
two locations: from near relocated US 90 north to near 34th St, and from
near Crossroads Pkwy north to the proposed passenger rail station. LRT
stations would be located per my Orange
Grove LRT Line page.
Projects that can be built in any Phase
- I-10 expansion: due to increasing
traffic volumes, including heavy truck traffic, I-10 should be expanded to
provide 6 through lanes between Slidell, LA and Mobile, AL. 8 lanes will
eventually be needed between the US 49/MS 601 freeway and I-110.
- I-10 interchange improvements should be
built as needed to address safety and operational concerns. A flyover
ramp should be considered for traffic from NB I-110 to WB I-10.
- I-10 auxiliary lanes between MS 613 and
MS 63 in Moss Point.
- I-110 expansion to 6 lanes between I-10
and relocated US 90. After "Phase 2", the southern portion of I-110
should be rebuilt. The interchange at Bayview Ave should be rebuilt as a
full interchange. The half-interchange at Division St should be
eliminated. The elevated portion south of Division St should be replaced
by an at-grade boulevard with intersections at US 90, Howard Ave, and Beach
- The East Harrison County Connector should
be constructed as a freeway-grade facility between Beach Blvd and I-10 at the
Woolmarket interchange. The junction with Beach Blvd should be at-grade.
Half-interchanges to/from the north should be built at relocated US 90 and at
Pass Rd. Full interchanges should be built at Popps Ferry Rd and I-10.
A 4-lane facility should be provided, with accommodation for an eventual 6
lanes between relocated US 90 and I-10. The corridor should be continued
north of I-10 as a 4-lane expressway or freeway facility, generally along
existing MS 67, north to the new MS 67 corridor now under construction.
- US 49 north of Saucier up to Jackson
should be upgraded to a 4-lane freeway facility to handle heavy interregional
- US 90 in Waveland and Bay St. Louis
should be reconstructed as a 4-lane urban boulevard with access management,
similar to my relocated US 90 proposal minus the LRT line.
- US 90 in Ocean Springs should also be
reconstructed as an urban boulevard with access management. The 6 lane
segment across the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge should be continued east to
Ocean Springs Rd.
- An interchange should be built on US 90
at MS 57.
- US 90 in Gautier and Pascagoula should
also be reconstructed as an urban boulevard with access management. A
6-lane segment should extend from Gautier-Vancleve Rd east to the junction
with MS 63/MS 611. An urban interchange should be built at MS 63/MS 611,
with an interchange or grade-separation built at Gautier-Vancleve Rd.
- MS 43 expansion to a 4-lane divided at-grade facility between I-59 at
Picayune and I-10 near Bay St. Louis.
- MS 53 expansion to a 4-lane divided at-grade facility between Lizana and
- MS 57 expansion to a 4-lane divided at-grade facility between I-10 and
Wade-Vancleve Rd north of Vancleve.
- Implement access management along MS 63 to reduce private access points
and improve safety. Interchanges should be built on MS 63 at both MS 613
and MS 614.
- Implement access management along MS
605/Cowan-Lorraine Rd to reduce private access points and improve safety.
- Widen Pass Rd as needed to provide
sidewalks on both sides of the street, plus a uniform 5-lane section through
- Extend Popps Ferry Rd as a 4-lane
facility south of Pass Rd to Beach Blvd.
- Widen Popps Ferry Rd to provide a
consistent 4-lane section between Pass Rd and Cedar Lake Rd (including
expanding the Popps Ferry Bridge to 4 lanes).
- Widen 28th St in Gulfport to 4 lanes
between Pass Rd and Canal Rd.
- Reconstruct Canal Rd to provide
full 12' driving lanes, a minimum 2' paved shoulder (6' desired, 8' optimum),
and turn lanes at intersections.
- In Long Beach, Klondyke Rd North should tie directly into Cleveland Ave,
instead of the skewed intersection that exists today. Both Cleveland Ave
and Klondyke Rd should be rebuilt to modern standards.
- Also in Long Beach, a direct connection should be built from Beatline Rd
to US 90.
- Adequate buffer should be implemented
around Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport to address existing/potential noise
concerns plus accommodate any airport expansion that may be needed in the
- Upgrading the Kansas City Southern rail
tracks between the Port of Gulfport and Hattiesburg may reduce truck traffic
along US 49.
Page last modified
02 December, 2005