The clearing of sand and debris off U.S. 90, also called Beach Boulevard in many Mississippi Coast cities, was one of the first signs of post-Hurricane Katrina cleanup. Within two days, it was possible for emergency vehicles and debris crews to snake between the east and west lanes from the Bay of St. Louis to Biloxi Bay.|
In many places, the roadway was pancaked and impossible to navigate, but drivers could switch lanes. The cities and Mississippi Department of Transportation marked the best route.
In those early months, only emergency vehicles, cleanup crews and debris haulers were permitted. The cities limited access for health and safety concerns and to prevent looting of beach and private, municipal and public properties.
National Guardsmen stood at intersections near CSX railroad tracks.
Biloxi was the first to open a U.S. 90 section to the public, allowing cars between Porter Avenue and Interstate 110.
An MDOT engineer, in an Oct. 20 story in the Sun Herald, reported that after repairs on three spots were paved and troublesome draining issues corrected, two lanes of U.S. 90 could be turned over for two-way traffic in as early as a week. Crews were 99 percent done with repairs on the eastbound lanes, but cities along the Harrison County stretch continued to limit access.
On Dec. 1, Gulfport opened its eastbound lanes, and Long Beach opened Dec. 15. With those additions, the only section of U.S. 90 in Harrison County still closed was between Point Cadet and Interstate 110, and that opened by year's end.
With traffic lights down, stop signs directed traffic at the major U.S. 90 intersections. Now, (July, 16, 2006) many temporary lights are up and U.S. 90 is open from east Biloxi to near Henderson Point.
- KAT BERGERON