Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The bridge that outsmarted Camille

Read "Welcome to Ocean Springs," the introduction to these posts.

Hurricane Camille is the Mississippi Gulf Coast's high-water mark: All other big storms are referenced and compared to the legendary Big One of 1969.

Remember the photos of antebellum homes smashed by Katrina? As bad as Camille was, they had survived. They did not survive Katrina.

I drove nervously past a couple of "Road Closed" signs on my way to the bridge and found I was not the only one paying a visit. Among the many people there was a recent widow -- last year, she lost her husband of 41 years. She was a long-time resident of Ocean Springs and, although she wasn't here for Camille, she knew something about the history of the bridge before us.

The new U.S. 90 bridge was built sometime in the '50s, before Camille. The bridge is composed of multiple pillars with slabs of road pretty much only resting on the pillars.

The point is to protect the pillars from hurricane damage. In 1969, Camille knocked around some of the slabs on the bridge, but barges came along and simply pushed the slabs back into place for a relatively easy fix.

But the fix won't be nearly so easy after Katrina. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is already soliciting bids for utter replacement of the bridge.

More photos of the U.S. 90 Biloxi bridge:

You can check out this awesome aerial photo and many other at this Sun Herald slide show.

You can also check out a few before-and-after satellite photos of this bridge, brought to you by Digital Globe.

If you find any other photos to link to, please leave the web page in the comments below.

And don't forget my own photo that I posted earlier.

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